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A a

Adenine. A purine base for DNA and RNA that pairs with the pyrimidine base thymine (T) in DNA and Uracil (U) in RNA. GMW of the isolated base is 135.1 grams per mole.

A designation of the standard time one hour ahead of universal time (UT), and of the zone for which it is the local time. Thank God for adenine; this one would be a hell of a discouraging entry to start off a glossary.

This is called a ``standard time zone,'' so naturally there must be multiple standards... Simplest is the ideal standard time zone: ideal standard time zone A is centered on the meridian 15° east of the prime meridian; specifically, it is the lune between 7.5° E and 22.5° E. Nautical time, used in radio communication by ships when they are outside territorial waters, is based on nautical standard time zones that coincide with the ideal time zones away from land (and apparently are not specifically defined within territorial waters). On land, standard time zone A is the union of those regions by or for which it is adopted. Time zone A includes most of western continental Europe and a continuous swath of countries in Africa.

In continental Europe the zone ranges from Spain to Albania to Norway. Standard time for this part of Europe is more frequently called by descriptive names like `Central European Time' (CET) or the equivalent (e.g., MEZ). The time-zone boundaries within Europe all coincide with international borders. In continental Europe, only Portugal is in time zone Z -- standard time the same as universal time. (The UK and the Irish Republic are also in the Z time zone.) In the northeast, the time-zone boundary runs along the borders of Norway and Sweden (A) with Finland (B). Finland is the northernmost land in time zone B; islands to the north are Norwegian or Russian, and keep the corresponding times. The line where Norway and Russia abut north of Finland is the border between time zone A and time zone C.

From the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, the time-zone boundary line runs for a ways along the border of Poland with the former Soviet Union. It starts generally eastward along the border of Poland with Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast to the north. (That bit of Russia is most of the northern part of old East Prussia, which included Prussia's historic capital Königsberg. The region was assigned to Russia at the Yalta conference. The capital city, and hence the region, was renamed for Kalinin, an old Bolshevik who finally kicked the bucket shortly after the end of the Great Patriotic War. The surviving German population of the region was deported, or allowed to flee. Hey, it just occurred to me: expelling people from their homeland is against international law!) Kaliningrad Oblast is the only part of Russia that keeps standard time A.

It's big world, so it's possible someone besides the author may read this entry.

The time-zone boundary continues east along the border between Poland and Lithuania (you know, those were a single kingdom not so many centuries ago), then south along the western borders of Belarus and Ukraine (time zone B) with Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary (A). So far, it looks pretty systematic: former bits of the USSR, including the Slavic-language countries that use a Cyrillic alphabet, are all on the B side of the line between zones A and B, while former Warsaw-Pact members other than the USSR, including Slavic-language countries that use a Roman alphabet, lie in time zone A.

Further south, however, this convenient and mnemonic system begins to break down. It seems that some extraneous matter, such as longitude, was allowed into consideration. (That wasn't allowed to interfere on the west: Spain and France are almost entirely within 7.5 degrees of the prime meridian; most of the Portuguese-Spanish border runs just east of the 7.5° W meridian, so Portugal would be mostly in the N time zone, if astronomy mattered very much.) At all events, Romania (with Moldova) is the northernmost former Warsaw-Pact country (aside from the USSR) to be in time zone B. The time-zone boundary continues south along Romania's western border with Hungary and then with Serbia, making the latter southerly country (jugo- means `south-') the northernmost Cyrillic-using country in time zone A.

[This is by a little bit only. Bosnia, which extends almost as far north, uses both Cyrillic and Roman alphabets. A Bosnian immigrant who manages at a local Walgreen's told me that before the war (when she fled to Germany), television news in the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina would alternate alphabets, using Roman characters for captions one day, then Cyrillic captions the next day. (As far as she knows, the practice continues.) She found the Cyrillic inconvenient: although she studied and used both alphabets in school, she was always more comfortable with the Roman characters. Her husband professes surprise that she could find the Cyrillic difficult. Her grandparents used a version of Arabic script adapted to the same language (Serbo-Croatian, called ``Bosnian'' in this context). But Arabic script is a challenge even for Arabic. Even though the whole family speaks the same language, the Arabic script was practically a secret code; grandma would leave a note for grandpa, and he was the only one who could decipher it. Nowadays I'm told that in the US, cursive is similarly impenetrable to schoolchildren.

The spelling of German by Yiddish-speakers may be regarded as a similar situation. My mother studies Yiddish every so often, despite her vow to stop learning new languages. I suppose Yiddish is a fair exception, since German is her native language and Hebrew is one of those languages she studied and half forgot.

Yiddish is mostly German, with quite a bit of Hebrew and some influence from Slavic languages, written in Hebrew characters. Of course, Germanic phonology, no less in the Yiddish language than in the standard German, was not a very good fit to the Hebrew script, originally. Heck, just think what the Greeks had to do with a related north Semitic script to write their own Indo-European language. The way the problem was solved in Yiddish was to give up a single set of pronunciation rules: Hebrew words in Yiddish retain their Hebrew spellings, and non-Hebrew words are written using a completely different set of rules and a somewhat different set of sound correspondences.

Something similar happens in many languages. Coming up with rules for the pronunciation of words spelled in English works better if one distinguishes Latinate and non-Latinate classes of words. (It was not always so. Latin words absorbed into Old English were pronounced according to their Latin spellings and common English pronunciation rules for Latin characters. Then again, since the pronunciations of the Latin characters were based on their pronunciation in Latin, the situation wasn't so bad.) Of course, Yiddish spelling is rather more phonetic than English, although you have to reason out the vowels in the the Hebrew vocabulary. A similar effect, but on a smaller scale, is the fact that patterns of vowel devoicing in Japanese are different for gairaigo than for Yamato and Sino-Japanese words.

Yiddish-speakers normally use the Ashkenazi (northern and eastern European) pronunciation of Hebrew. The main traditional alternative, the Sephardi pronunciation (originally Spanish, common around the Mediterranean in the modern era), was taken as the basis for modern Hebrew. When my mom was in school (in Nazi Germany), she learned the two pronunciations as liturgical and modern pronunciations. One indication that Sephardi pronunciation is not true to Biblical Hebrew is the fact that it uses the same sound for various alphabetic characters marked for different pronunciation.

Getting back to the writing-German-words-in-Yiddish thing... A big part of the problem is vowels. When you count long and short separately, standard German has 14 to (including diphthongs) 19 vowels, and Yiddish (``Yiddish'' is an English transliteration of the German and Yiddish word spelled jüdisch in German, meaning `Jewish') has not much less. In standard German this profusion is handled partly by digraphs and Umlauts, partly by using doubled consonants to indicate that a preceding vowel is short, by other onsonant-based clues, and occasionally by memorization. By contrast, Hebrew script represents vowels mostly by indirection. (Okay, and also by matres lectionis.]

The time-zone boundary continues along the western border of Bulgaria with Serbia and Macedonia (or FYROM or whatever), then west along the northern border of Greece with FYROM (don't even think of calling it Macedonia; Masodonia, perhaps) and Albania, on out to the Adriatic.

Gee, time zones are interesting. Time zone A in Africa (where it is typically called the ``West Africa Time'' zone, WAT) includes about 15 countries I know little about, from Tunisia and Algeria in the north to Namibia (a German colony before WWI) in the south. Among these only the Democratic Republic of the Congo (old Zaïre) is in two time zones. That is quite appropriate, as it's about the least unified country. Only Tunisia and Namibia observe Daylight Saving Time (DST) -- Tunisia in the Summer and Namibia in the Winter. Man, those guys are crazy. Please don't ask me about Antarctica.

Adjective. One of the ``parts of speech.'' Further discussion, possibly surprising, at the noun entry.

Advanced. A prefix that is productive in the grammatical sense. A temporary attribute. A retarded name, as we would have said (and known) in elementary school). SBF offers an initiation into Advanced Smileys.


Aeschylus. This is the established conventional abbreviation used by classicists (writing in English) in citations. It doesn't stand for Aristophanes (Ar.), Aristotle (Arist.), or Athenaeus (Ath.). Aeschylus is reckoned ``the father of tragedy.'' Mnemonic for the abbreviation: ``A tragedy should be brief.''

Alpha. Not the expansion here, just the FCC-recommended ``phonetic alphabet.'' I.e., a set of words chosen to represent alphabetic characters by their initials. You know, ``Alpha Bravo Charlie ... .'' The idea behind the choice is to have words that the listener will be able to guess at or reconstruct accurately even through noise (or narrow bandwidth, like a telephone). Hence, ``Artisan'' would be no good because it might be heard as ``Partisan.''

Personally, I prefer ``Aorta.'' If they ask you to repeat you can say ``Aneurysm.''

A Greek friend of mine has the surname Petr... He made a phone reservation at a restaurant (in the US), and when he arrived they couldn't find him listed: Because the ``p'' is unaspirated (in contrast with initial plosive consonants /p/ and /t/ in English) they had heard ``Etr...'' For a similar but more widely experienced misunderstanding, see the enema entry.

Symbol for a metric unit named after Anders Jonas Ångström. Å is also a character used in Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish. For some information about that, see this Aa entry.

In a 1913 article in Annalen der Physik (Leipzig), I noticed the use of Å.-E., evidently for Ångström-Einheit, `Ångström unit.' The article was by Peter Paul Koch (fourth series, vol. 42, no. 11: ``Über die Messung der Intensitätsverteilung in Spektrallinien. II''). Other articles just used Å. Perhaps this was an earlier usage that was trailing off.

Late in the nineteenth century there was an equivalent expression that is now not only obsolete but unlikely to be understood by most scientists: ``tenth-meter.'' (Actually, I've only ever seen it as ``tenth-metre.'' I don't find much occasion to read 19th c. scientific journals from the US.) Tenth-meter meant 10-10 meter, and was part of a fairly systematic terminology pattern. It was particularly common in electricity and magnetism.

Amp, Ampere. Abbreviation and symbol for the ampere (also amp), the SI base unit for electric current, named after André Marie Ampère (1775-1836). The electric charge unit is the coulomb, a derived unit defined as one ampere-second (C = A s).


Annus. Latin, `year.'

A+, A+
A-plus is A programming language. It has a strong APL flavor to it. Well duh. A+ is an extension of the A language, the latter created with the intention of replacing APL in 1988. Both A and A+ were created at Morgan Stanley, which gives a hint of the intended applications. A itself was created by Arthur Whitney, who went on to create the K language (1993), a proprietary array language. The worst feature of the A language is its name, which makes it hard to google for help. It is hard even to confirm my conjecture that A was never released as such (rather than wrapped in A+). For help with A+, start at <aplusdev.org>. K, unlike A+, got rid of the extra special characters used by APL, but replaced them by sequences of ordinary punctuation marks.

Arbeitsgemeinschaft. See AG.

Until 1957, the chemical symbol for argon (Ar since then).

Arts & Sciences. (Shhh!) For an even more extreme abbreviation of A&S, see NATAS.

Assist. Scorecard abbreviation.

Atlantic Reporter. Legal publication.

Atomic mass number. Also mass number for short, but don't call it atomic mass: the mass number is an integer (the number of nucleons in the nucleus) that is numerically close to the atomic mass -- the mass of the atom in atomic mass units (amu) -- because both kinds of nucleon have a mass close to 1 amu.

Don't you just hate it when writers do that (define important stuff [like a head term in its glossary entry, say] parenthetically)? Me too.

Another thing not to confuse A with is atomic number -- the number of protons in a nucleus. Don't be too embarrassed; I've been guilty of this myself, recently. At some point, I had stopped using the term (atomic number) altogether and started thinking of it as a quantity called ``zee'' (or maybe ``zed,'' by those folks from whom we are separated by a common language) and represented by the variable Z.

Maybe chemists prefer the long name (viz. atomic number). In chemistry and atomic physics, Z is vastly more important because chemical properties and atomic spectra depend primarily on Z, and much less on A. [The quantitative differences are typically on the order of the ratio of the electron mass to the nuclear mass, and so a fraction of a percent even in the extreme case of hydrogen.] In nuclear physics, A and Z are of comparable importance. (To take a well-knwn example, the liquid-drop model gives a nuclear binding energy whose dominant terms are powers of A, and Z only comes in as a smaller but important Z2/A1/3 correction.)

A very visible asymmetry between A and Z is that each Z has its own associated name (``hydrogen'' for Z=1, etc.), so the Z=3 nuclei, for example, can be referred to collectively as ``lithium isotopes.'' By contrast, since there is no specific name corresponding to an A value (other than ``nucleon'' for A=1). The composition of a nucleus is thus specified by the combination of a number for A and a chemical symbol for Z (e.g., 6Li and 7Li for the stable isotopes of lithium). I know of no elegant way of naming an isobar (the family of nuclei with a common value of A). At least, you typically have to specify a number. There are special cases, of course. You could refer to the A=3 nuclei as the ``tritium isobar.'' People would probably look at you funny for not just saying ``tritium and helium-three.''

Attendance. Scorekeeping abbreviation, if you're keeping score on what's happening in the stands.


Latin, Aulus. A praenomen, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina.

There are rather many other words which A abbreviates in Latin inscriptions.

Diode imperfection factor. Alternate symbol and name for nonideality factor n. I've only ever seen this symbol used in solar-cell work (the conventional solar cell is a diode). See also A0.

Time Zone A. UTC+1. Also called CET and MEZ.

AbAmpere. An old abbreviation for an old unit. An abampere was the base unit of current in the cgs electromagnetic units. The same current was expressed in cgs electrostatic units as ``c statamperes.'' That is, using an approximate value for c of 3×1010 cm/sec, an electric current of 1 abampere was equal to an electric current of 3×1010 statamperes (and 10 amperes, in the MKSA system). Cf. this spiffy new electromagnetic unit aA.

Aa, aa
Aa is the two-letter symbol for Å. (Naturally, aa is used for the lower-case form å.) Å is a special (i.e., non-English) vowel symbol used in all the major Scandinavian languages. It's also used by scientists to abbreviate a metric unit that when not abbreviated is typically written Angstrom. It also seems to occur in some English-speakers' pendants (twice for ANNA). (Follow this link for HTML-related information on the ISO-Latin-1 issues.)

Because of some fussy alphabetical-order issues with å, this entry is probably as good a place as any to discuss the alphabets used in Swedish, Icelandic, Danish, and the Norwegian languages, with particular attention to the special vowel symbols.

We start with Swedish, either because the eponymous Ångström was a Swede, or because Swedish is the language for which I am aware of the fewest confusing details. In Swedish, the alphabet starts with the same 26 letters as the English alphabet, followed by å, ä, and ö in that order. I.e.,

a, b, c, ... v, w, x, y, z, å, ä, ö.

The letters c, q, w, and z occur only in a few names. The letter w used to be treated as a variant of v, and alphabetization usually ignored the difference. (Words beginning in v and w could be mixed up in a dictionary the same way words beginning in v and V can be mixed up in an English dictionary.) Thus, while the Swedish alphabet was (sometimes) read off with v and w separately named, from the perspective of alphabetization, the alphabet was best regarded as just 28 letters:

a, b, c, ... v, x, y, z, å, ä, ö.

In 2005, the Swedish Academy decreed or suggested or whatever that the v and w be thenceforth treated more distinctly for alphabetization purposes, so the w has its place as further above.

In Danish, æ is used where Swedish uses ä, and ø is usually used in place of Swedish ö. The symbol corresponding to Swedish å, and its place in the alphabet, have changed once or twice in the last couple of centuries. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the double-a was often treated as a distinct symbol on a par with single letters like a or b, the same way ch, ll, and rr were traditionally treated in Spanish. In some cases but not all, the double-a assumed the same position in the alphabet as å did in Swedish. Hence, the alphabet was either

a, b, c, ... v, w, x, y, z, aa, æ, ø,

or it was

a, b, c, ... v, w, x, y, z, æ, ø.

and aa was alphabetized like a pair of letters a. By the 1940's the latter pattern had become common. In 1948, however, there was a spelling reform that replaced aa with å. The question of order was not immediately settled, but in 1955 it was decided to place that symbol at the end of the alphabet, yielding

a, b, c, ... v, w, x, y, z, æ, ø, å.

This means that the word for river (aa) was once usually near the end of the dictionary (ordbog), then sort of drifted up to nearly the front, and then in 1955 got kicked even further back than where it began (as å). It must be discouraging to be an aa. (Cf. aa.) Just as in Swedish, w was once treated as a variant, and not distinguished for purposes of alphabetization. [Another item that is (or was) read off as part of the alphabet (in English) but which doesn't (and didn't) count equally in alphabetization: ampersand.] Danish practice was officially conformed to the international pattern (w distinct from v) in 1980.

Again as in Swedish, the letters c, q, w, and z are in fact rare. In addition, the x is also rare in Danish.

Norway had a distinct national language at one point, but over the course of four centuries of Danish rule, Danish became the national language -- both officially and for the creation of literature. After Norway finally became independent of Denmark in 1814, there was a broad desire to distinguish Norwegian from Danish, and to recover a distinct national language. It's a long and lugubrious story, but happily for this entry the Norwegians didn't tamper too much with the alphabet. It is the same now as the Danish alphabet, though they may have been quicker to adopt (and place at the end of the alphabet) the letter å. Hence, the order for Norwegian is again

a, b, c, ... v, w, x, y, z, æ, ø, å.

Norwegian replaced aa with å in 1917. Presumably, commingled feelings of pride and resentment must have accompanied Denmark's conformation to å in 1948.

Icelandic has enough letters. Here is their order for the purposes of alphabetization:

a, á, b, c, d, ð, e, é, f, g, h, i, í, j, k, l, m, n, o, ó, p, q, r, s, t, u, ú, v, w, x, y, ý, z, þ æ, ö

I'm serious about the acute-accented characters: floti (`fleet') precedes fló (`flea'). The letter á corresponds to the å in Danish (so á means `river'). The é was only introduced in the twentieth century, to represent a palatalized version of e that was previously very reasonably written je. One is inclined to suspect that they did it just to have a complete set of acute-accented vowels. The acute marks were originally intended to indicate vowel quantity (i.e., accented vowels were of longer duration), but like the long-short vowel distinction in English, that's gone rather by the boards.

This list is a few too many letters long for schoolchildren to sing. The sung alphabet consists only of

a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u (or v), x, y, þ æ, ö.

(Although ð is the voiced version of þ, it is considered ``subordinate'' to d.) The letter z was abolished in 1974, but I left it in the alphabetization alphabet because abolished or no, it is part of names, and some people and institutions continue to insist on using it.

Academy of Aphasia. I had the impression that this organization became moribund along with the late chair of its Board of Governors, linguist Victoria A. Fromkin. What was the matter with my head!? Here's the website.

Try also Alicia Courville's Speech Disorders page or the National Aphasia Association (NAA).

Acceso Abierto. A loan translation to Spanish from and for the English `Open Access.'

Acronyms Anonymous. See AAAAAA.

Administrative Assistant. Someone not a secretary who handles a share (tending toward the more bureaucratic component) of an administrator's workload. Cf. PA.

Administrative Authority. (ISO term, at least.)

Advertising Association. A UK federation of about 30 ``trade bodies representing the advertising and promotional marketing industries including advertisers, agencies, media and support services.'' They have a logo that consists of two lower-case alphas vertically aligned.

Advising Associate.

Aerolineas Argentinas.


A. A.
Aeschylus, Agamemnon. Standard abbreviation for classicists (writing in English) in the citations of scholarly papers. Yes, it's meant to be obscure. Hadn't you figured that out yet?

Affirmative Action. As in the EE/AA or EO/AA.

The current use of the term affirmative action goes back to a 1965 executive order (EO) issued by US President Lyndon Johnson. The order required federal contractors to ``take affirmative action'' to see that ``employees are treated fairly during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color or national origin.''

As initially understood, if it was initially understood, the term referred to positive efforts by employers (or educational institutions) to seek out and hire qualified applicants from under-represented groups and to be proactive in eliminating illegitimate causes of that under-representation. It was initially supposed that mere outreach efforts would suffice to right the historical imbalance.

The landmark Civil Rights legislation of 1964 (which does not use the term affirmative action) was intended to illegalize discrimination based on race alone (rather than any possible statistical correlates of race) and to encourage recruitment of minorities. When the crucial bills were being debated in the Senate, Hubert Humphrey (D-MN), later to be vice-president in the second, full LBJ administration, famously offered to eat the bill page by page if it led to preferential treatment for blacks. (At the time, blacks were the only group recognized as under-represented; afterwards, other groups were given official recognition as under-represented. This official recognition is not affected by the fact that the recognized group is -- as a mathematical necessity -- over-represented in some other field. It is virtually assured as a matter of probability that all groups are under-represented in some field, so we can look forward to a day when all groups enjoy the protection of equal-opportunity laws.)

Black representation in professional, managerial, and other kinds of employment deemed desirable or high-status had been increasing steadily for a number of years before the passage of equal employment opportunity legislation, so it was reasonable to suppose that aggressive recruiting and the elimination of artificial barriers to employment might substantially solve the perceived imbalance problem. In the event, progress was not deemed satisfactory, and during the Nixon administrations affirmative action took on a new meaning. A series of executive orders, administrative-law rules and landmark court cases led to a system of set-asides and quotas, and a supporting system of official lies and evasions. Concomitantly, the meaning of ``qualified'' was adjusted to meet the psychological and ideological needs of the political moment. People who think of themselves as liberal today, and who curse the memory of Richard Nixon, generally subscribe to the cynical vision of civil rights progress put in place by him.

The contradiction in meaning and in underlying assumptions, between AA as initially understood and as eventually implemented, offers the creative pollster the opportunity to prove any desired thesis. If you want to show that people favor affirmative action, you ask people whether they support the principles of the early, minimalist definition of affirmative action. If you want to demonstrate widespread opposition to affirmative action, you describe the most egregious examples of its implementation and ask whether the respondent approves.

Agricultural Area. Abbreviation that occurs in EU statistical literature.

A. A.
Alan Alexander Milne. His series of Winnie-the-Pooh books began in 1924, with Christopher Robin, the young friend of Winnie the Pooh, modeled on his own four-year-old son, Christopher Robin, friend-at-a-distance of a bear named Winnie at the London zoo. The nonfictional Christopher Robin went on to become a bookseller (cf. Zola, discussed at Aix entry).

Christopher Robin Milne was always uncomfortable with his fame.

The rights to the use of the Pooh characters and images are nowadays held by Walt Disney.

A. A. also got his son a teddy bear. That bear currently resides in New York City.

I wonder if these Milnes are any relation to E. A. Milne, the mathematical physicist and Bruce Medalist?

Alcoholics Anonymous. (Also this URL.)

The same abbreviation is used in French (for Alcooliques Anonymes -- sounds kinda cool), German (Anonyme Alkoholiker or Gemeinschaft der Anonymen Alkoholiker) and Spanish (Alcohólicos Anónimos). The Spanish adjective alcohólico is slightly unusual: since the aitch is silent, the word has an o-o diphthong, the two component vowels clearly distinguished (in careful speech) by the stress on the second. FWIW, when the word alcohol was borrowed into Japanese, the -oho- was collaped into a long o: arukôru.

Alzheimer's Association.

We have an Alzheimer's disease (AD) entry.

American Airlines.

American Association. A late-nineteenth-century baseball league.

Amniocentesis and Abortion. This is really a pro-life shibboleth for amniocentesis. Anti-abortion groups tend to take a dim view of amnio. They figure, if you're not considering abortion, there's nothing you need to know in advance. (Not exactly true, particularly nowadays with in utero medical interventions.)

A.A., AA
Anadolu Ajansi. Normally translated `Anadolu Agency,' which isn't very informative to me. Anadolu looks like it could be Turkish for `Anatolia.' In any case, AA is the Turkish national news agency. It was founded on the evening of April 6, 1920, as you will learn on this page, where the word great occurs five times. ``We are proud to do our share towards globalization with perfectionism, accuracy and speed. ANADOLU is a front-runner in the use of communication technologies for the high-end. WE ARE THE LEADING AGENCY'' and an EANA member.

In one of his books, Bernard Lewis describes, inter alia, the history of newspaper publishing in the Muslim world. I think the book's title is What Went Wrong.

An[a]esthesiologist's Assistant. See AAAA.

Anesthesia & Analgesia. A technical journal.

AntiAircraft (gun[s] or fire). Or Antiaircraft Arms. Slang equivalent ``ack-ack.''


Antike und Abendland. Beiträge zum Verständnis der Griechen und Römer und ihres Nachlebens, Berlin.

Application Association.


Archäologischer Anzeiger. A German archaeology journal catalogued in TOCS-IN.

Arithmetic Average. The thing usually meant by average or mean, when not otherwise qualified. Dictionaries seem overwhelmingly to prefer the term ``arithmetic mean'' to ``arithmetic average'' as a more specific term, but in ordinary usage ``arithmetic mean'' seems to be not even twice as common as ``arithmetic average.'' Frankly, neither the editor nor I can recall encountering the term ``arithmetic average'' before. The term doesn't seem to be limited in distribution to the RotW (outside North America, in this instance). What probably happened is that google invented 800,000 bogus web pages to fake us out. Either that, or it's a dumbed-down term invented and used by people who didn't absorb (very deeply) mathematics and its conventional terminology in school.

The words average and mean, if not explicitly qualified, both mean a sum divided by the number of its addends. This is, in general terms, a ``measure of central tendency.'' Two other measures of central tendency are the median and mode. One might call these discontinuous measures, since their values are discontinuous functions of the numbers whose distribution they describe the central tendency of. Other continuous measures of central tendency are usually named with the word mean. The most common such alternatives that I can think of are ``geometric mean,'' ``harmonic mean,'' and ``logarithmic mean.''

In Hong Kong, the phrase ``AA <system>'' (with AA pronounced as an English initialism and <system> representing a Chinese or Cantonese translation of the English word system) is the practice of splitting a restaurant or entertainment bill. Presumably this arose specifically from the practice of dividing the bill equally, so each person paid the AA cost. I'm not sure whether the term is still used strictly in this sense or may also now refer to an arrangement in which all individuals pay their own expenses. The latter is called ``Dutch treat'' in English-speaking countries (and ``pagar a la americana'' in South America). I needn't have explained my uncertainties. I could have just said the AA system means ``to go Dutch'' without further specification and left it at that, but I wanted to share.

(In China as in the US, Chinese restaurants usually serve dishes to the table, and individuals serve themselves. Hence, there is only one straightforward way to share the expenses, and no ambiguity.)

(US) Armed Forces (in the rest of the) Americas. Designation excludes US and Canada. This region is loosely called ``Central and South America,'' which technically would exclude the Caribbean and also (irrelevantly for the foreseeable future, though not for the foreseeable past) Mexico. Two-letter ``state'' code used by the MPSA and USPS. (For USPS purposes, US Armed Forces stationed out-of-country are served by ``domestic mail,'' and so require a ``state'' code.)

Mail bound for the AA region used to be (and I believe still is) routed through processing centers at Miami, and used to be nominally bound for Florida. Using FL (for Florida) instead of AA still works for mail, but will probably cause problems with credit-card verification, so don't do it. For more on MPSA/USPS military mail, see the MPO entry.

Associate in Arts. A two-year post-secondary degree.

Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Atomic Abs. Ventral annihilation. A six-pack of twenty-ounce cans of U-235. Buff b... Oh. Actually, AA is short for Atomic Absorption. Never mind. See AAS instead.

AttoAmpere. One ampere equals 1018 attoamperes, demonstrating that the ampere is an unimaginably humongous unit -- so ginormous as to be of no practical use.

German, Auswärtiges Amt -- `Foreign Office' (FO).

Author's Alterations. Authors' Alterations, if the work is a conspiracy. Changes to the proofs after they're in galley. Doesn't that sound cool and insiderish? It's probably nonsense. AA is changes made to the text that's done up in galley proofs. Book contracts usually have a clause that you didn't notice, to the effect that if AA's are substantial, the author is penalized. I contributed to an encyclopedia, however, which due to time constraints was typeset during reviews. I don't know what they do when the reviews are unfavorable or ask for extensive changes.

Auto Answer. A standard light on an external modem.

Automobile Association. The name of the Automobile Association of Britain. There's also a Royal Automobile Club (RAC), but I couldn't find anything about it using the search engine at AA.

Average Audience. A broadcast-industry variable whose value is a number. The number is not a measure of audience intelligence, average or otherwise.

Double-A. When letters are used to indicate sizes, as in shoe or brassiere sizes, it is necessary to select an appropriate range. As time passes, if the system is successful, it often occurs that the customer base begins to include individuals outside the original range. Since A typically refers to the smallest size (or ends up doing so), something must be done. Hence, AA electric batteries, AA shoes, and AA cup sizes. (Sometimes this repeated-letter scheme is used even though a single-letter scheme is possible. For an example of this puzzling and inexplicable phenomenon, see the grade inflation entry.) Batteries are available down to AAAA at least (vide 9V battery entry); I'm not sure about shoes and bras, but here's the latest information we have managed to uncover on bra sizes.

If shoulders are back in fashion and you're thinking about fixing up your old blouse but can't find the right-size shoulder pad in the ``Home Fashions'' section, experiment with bra cups. This reminds me of the scene in the movie theater from Summer of '42. Now let's get back to...

This just in (from Reuters, dateline May 2003, Taipei): ``Villagers in southern Taiwan are strapping bras to their faces to guard against the deadly SARS virus due to a shortage of surgical masks.'' A local factory is actually recycling its own colorful bras, cutting them and sewing on new straps. I don't understand why the factory has to cut anything to begin: don't they have a supply of cups or something? I should probably say that I will be following this story as closely as is decently possible, but I won't.

The first sports bra was invented in 1977 by Lisa Lindahl, a jogger, and her childhood friend Polly Smith, a costume designer. Lisa's sister dubbed the project ``a jockstrap for women.'' While Lisa and Polly were working on a prototype, Lisa's husband came in and playfully pulled a jockstrap over his head and around his chest. They were inspired, and Polly fashioned a model constructed of two jock straps sewn together. (The story here is condensed from this page.) From (the general vicinity of) athletic cups to bra cups, and from bra cups to shoulder pads, it seems fashion moves ever upwards. The German word for glove is Handschuh (yes, literally `hand shoe').

In the US in 1999, 130,000 women underwent breast augmentation surgery, a factor-of-four increase from 1992, the year that silicone implants were banned for cosmetic use. (In November 2006 the FDA reapproved them for all uses where saline implants were approved.) To any mathematically competent person, it had already been clear in 1992 that silicone implants are just as safe as saline implants, but people are stupid about statistics. Silicone is also more natural-looking unless there's a leak. (If saline leaks, it's absorbed.) During the dark ages (1992 to 2006) silicone remained legal to replace a failed saline implant and in certain other applications. Also, the shell that holds the saline solution in saline implants is made of silicone, meaning that most of the time, the total surface area of living tissue exposed to silicone is the same whether the prosthesis contains saline or silicone.

But you know, those implants require more upkeep than the sealed battery on my old Honda, and they don't necessarily last much longer. Research has been ongoing; alternatives studied have included polyvinylpurolidone (PVP) implants and reconstruction using fat from elsewhere in the body. (I guess moving it from the wrong places to the right places kills two birds with one stone. Liposuction is gaining in popularity too, you know.) Last I heard, the clinical trials were being conducted in Europe, where the litigation risk is lower. Apparently the only alternative that has been widely commercialized is the gummy-bear implant, which is an incremental modification of the regular silicone implant: the filling is silicone polymerized with more crosslinking monomers, resulting in a rubbery gel rather than a viscous one.

Sixty percent of women getting augmentation in 1999 were aged 19-34. Thirty-five percent were aged 35-50. (The other 5% includes about 1% under 18.) Often the augmentation is to achieve symmetry or for prosthetic purposes after other surgery. A smaller number of women go under the knife to decrease their size.

Dr. Judith Reichman, regular guest physician on the Today Show, wants you please to understand that ``Very few women do it [get augmented, that is] to please a male figure in their lives. When we say that, we are under-valuing a woman's concerns.'' It's not about that at all! It's about looking good in clothes or looking good out of them. As you know, women dress for other women. Men don't matter. Women engage in competitive dressing -- that's what public events are for.

[A brief shot of realism: an ad (noticed 1993 or earlier) for Bodyslimmers once included this text: ``While you don't necessarily dress for men, it doesn't hurt, on occasion, to see one drool like the pathetic dog that he is.'' I guess this is aiming low.]

There was something relevant in the December 2006 issue of Psychology Today. (That should have set off your BS monitor, of course, so you won't be perturbed that the article contradicts Reichman's PC pieties.) It was an article by Marcelo Balive on page 19 (in the INSIGHTS section; you may find it helpful to raise the trip level on your BS monitor) entitled ``A Model Society: South America's Obsession with Plastic Surgery.'' More than half of the article's real estate is taken up by a very informative illustration of Miss Venezuela 2005 Monica Spear apparently literally disrobing. Color caption: ``Latin Americans have won 11 of the last 25 Miss Universe titles.'' In the booooody of the article: ``Although no official statistics are compiled, Argentina is among the top-ranked countries in per capita rates of cosmetic surgery, says Guillermo Flaherty, president of the Argentine plastic surgeons' association.'' The article ends with the recollection of an American woman who had recently lived in Argentina: her gym's locker room was an exhibition hall of breast implants. It reminds me of an American I knew who spent his last year of high school in England (ca. 1979). He was the only one circumcised. I mean, he was the only one who was circumcised. I mean he, oh never mind. He said he felt like an alien -- which, of course, he was.

In theater seating, X, Y, Z may be followed by AA, BB, CC. I'll have to check next time, if I arrive before the lights dim. Dang! I was at an amphitheater that seated eight hundred, and the top row was K. I'm going to have to choose more popular events.

The desire to look good in clothes, and not for a male figure in one's life, is sometimes called the ``Academy Awards Effect.'' Another Academy Awards effect is that the stars who attend them are often too poor (in money) or not poor enough (in judgment) to buy the million-dollar jewelry and hundred-thou duds they wear there. Those're on loan from jewelers and fashion designers, who sell them to less or more poor customers who only wish they were movie stars. See the AD entry for more on the male figure.

AA also occurs in a kind of positional numbering scheme based on letters. These differ from ordinary positional systems (such as the decimal system, say) because there's no zero. In this kind of numbering, or labeling, X, Y, Z are followed by AA, AB, AC, .... Ordered lists can be numbered using this scheme in HTML (see our example), as well as nroff and troff.

Rough, cindery lava. Aa is often found lying loosely on the smooth surface of a Scrabble® board. All three major Scrabble dictionaries accept it and its plural aas.

The term was adopted by geologists (C.E. Dutton in the first place, in 1883) from the Hawaiian language. (Geologists like to do that. They adopted cwm from Welsh, when they could have used an English cognate like coomb. Obviously, geologists are closet Scrabble freaks.) In the original Hawaiian, this (aa, not cwm) is spelled a'a. In Hawaiian, Hawaii is spelled Hawai'i. That apostrophe represents a glottal stop consonant, something like the sound that substitutes for intervocalic /t/ in Cockney as well as in some words (e.g., cotton) in much of the US. The name of the capital of Yemen (.ye) -- Sana'a -- has a similar sound.

I wonder if a'a didn't get its name from the sound people make when they try to walk over it barefoot. Then it would be an onomatopoeia'a. No wait, don't blame me, I didn't make it up, honest! Apparently the opportunity to neologize with as many as four or more consecutive vowels overcomes all restraint. See this posting by David Lupher (to the famous classics list) for other examples.

Much nicer stuff than aa is pahoehoe, which has a smooth, lined surface that looks like thick rope or driftwood. It gets this appearance from the cooling process: the surface cools and begins to harden while the interior is still fluid. As the interior moves and drags the surface along with it, the outer surface is stretched, giving rise to the lines. This is possible only if the interior is not very viscous, so it continues to flow even when it is close to solidifying. The smoothness of the surface is also a consequence of the low viscosity (equivalently, the high fluidity): surface tension acts to smooth exposed surfaces, and is most effective when it has to overcome a smaller rather than a larger viscous resistance. Another difference, again consistent with the viscosity trend, is that aa tends to come in larger blocks, while pahoehoe is thin (and fast-moving while molten, get out of there!).

The difference in viscosity that determines whether aa or pahoehoe will form corresponds to a slight difference in silica content, and a single eruption can produce both (usually pahoehoe precedes aa). High silica content (60%) gives a viscous magma and aa. Because the high viscosity prevents gases from escaping easily, this is associated with explosive volcanoes like Mount St. Helens. Magmas with low silica content (50%), like those of Hawaiian island volcanoes, are more fluid and less explosive. That's why the Hawaiians have lots of cool-looking (or hot) pahoehoe.

Abbreviations And Acronyms. Well, I've seen at least one instance of this usage.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm[s]. The two main methods of repair are open repair and endovascular repair (EVAR).

Against All Authority. A South Florida punk band whose logo is a parody of the automobile-club AAA's.

Age Anaesthesia Association. ``[A]n association of anaesthetists with an interest in the anaesthetic problems of the elderly, under the auspices of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland [AABGI].''

See also John Ascah's Aged Anaesthesia page.

Aging Active Adult.

Agricultural Adjustment { Act | Administration }. A New Deal project to limit agricultural overproduction. Some of its more controversial methods were plowing under crops instead of harvesting them, and slaughtering livestock and discarding the carcasses.

Air Avenue of Approach. Aviation acronym. Duh.

Always Add Acid. Mnemonic for the lab safety prescription: when mixing strong acid or acid anhydride with water, (slowly) pour the acid into the water, rather than the other way around. Another mnemonic, which works better with rhotacizing and derhotacizing accents, is ``Do like you oughta, add acid to water.''

Alternating Aerobic-Anoxic. Refers to wastewater processing systems. AAA systems are used to remove nitrogen from sludge that has it in the form of both ammonium [(NH4)+] and nitrate [(NO3)-] ions. I write ``used'' above, but perhaps I should write ``promoted,'' ``studied and proposed,'' or ``meant.'' Everything I've read about AAA systems describes studies of laboratory systems or modeling of proposed systems, and control or comparison systems are typically described as ``conventional activated-sludge systems.''

Amateur Astronomers Association of NY.

American Academy of Addictionology.

The presence of the above name in this glossary does not imply an endorsement of that last word. The presence of the acronym does not imply an endorsement of the entity, of whose existence, happily, little sign appears to remain on the internet. This page by Steven Barrett, M.D., provides some interesting information on Jay Holder, perpetrator of addictionology seminars, president and cofounder of American College of Addictionology and Compulsive Disorders (ACACD), graduate of assorted non-accredited quackery mills, and apparent inventor of ``torque-release technique.'' Jay Holder is a legitimate holder of a DC degree from National College of Chiropractic, which might say something about that degree. (For some reason, perhaps including the esteem in which the word chiropractic is held, that college has taken a new name.)

The word ``addictionology'' has come to be widely used. It may well be that some nonquacks use it.

American Academy of Audiology. Funny, I never heard of them.

American Allergy Association.

They're not trying to promote it.

American Anthropological Association. Founded 1902, became a constituent society of the ACLS in 1930. ACLS has an overview.

American Arbitration Association.

American Association of Anatomists.

American Athletic Association. Yes, yes, there are indeed Amateur Athletic Associations as well as American Athletic Associations, but there used to be an organization called simply the American Athletic Association.

American Automobile Association. No one says ``Ay Ay Ay.'' It's ``triple-ay.''

Anesthesia Administration Assembly. Not a mechanical device, but an assembly within the context of the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). Founder and first president is Edward L. King, FACMPE.

Animal Acupuncture Academy. It's about humans performing acupuncture on animals, not the other way around. Veterinary acupuncture. In this context, those who do acupuncture on humans are called human acupuncturists, which under the circumstances is clear enough.

Animal-Assisted Activities. Human activities assisted by animals, like eating beef. No? Oh, I get it: seeing-eye dog, hearing-ear dog, fox-hunting. (Cf. AAT.)

Actually, fox-hunting almost doesn't qualify, because the hounds do all the work of pursuing the fox and killing and eating it (except for the comb, mask, and pads, of course). It might be called a human-assisted activity, since a human (the master of the hounds or his assistant) trains and may otherwise assist the hounds -- by, for example, sealing off before the hunt some foxholes that the fox might try to escape to. (They say there are no atheists in foxholes? How could they be sure?) But it is animal-assisted, in fact, because in the classic English fox hunt, the human activity is trying to keep up with the hounds, and horses assist in this activity by carrying the humans as they perform it. That's how I see it, anyway.

Seeing-eye dog work is the only AAA I have even the slightest direct experience of. One day on the main ASU campus, I saw a man a few yards ahead of me, standing patiently before a chain-link fence that closed off part of the sidewalk. A dense traffic of students was flowing around him. I came up and said ``...your dog stopped because they tore up the sidewalk.'' ``Can you lead me around it?'' ``Sure. How does it work?'' ``Just talk to me, and the dog will follow you.'' So we did that, and as I described our surroundings it turned out that we almost immediately overshot his next turn.

The dog's behavior surprised me, because the section of sidewalk closed off was only about four feet in diameter. The street had negligible traffic (it was sealed off by a card-entry gate) and one could actually continue by walking along the curb or by going only slightly off the sidewalk on the side away from the street. The dog could easily see how to go around, but was apparently trained not to take that initiative. (I wondered whether the dog conceived the task in terms of a destination and a preferred path, or in terms of an unmotivated sequence of specified paths.) On the other hand, the dog was expected to respond appropriately to its perception of the owner's social interactions. I guess I'm not surprised if dogs are better at understanding social interactions than pedestrian traffic. Still, for a long time afterwards I was haunted by the idea that I might have retrained the dog to overshoot the next turn and then do a dog-leg to get back to it.

The training of a seeing-eye dog has elements resembling the design of an interactive computer program. So many possible inputs! So many failure modes! Actually, the main resemblance to programming is that it rarely works correctly the first time. Both must be debugged or whatever. I gather from what I've read that part of the training involves focusing on isolated situations (e.g., how to exit a bus). So that would be like teaching ``methods.'' It seems that at least the terminology of OOP is a better fit to dog training than to programming. It typically takes about three years to program a new pup into a seeing-eye dog (a/k/a guide dog).

I remember reading a news item some years back, maybe around 2000, about a seeing-eye dog that was abused by its owner and that killed him by leading him into the path of an oncoming vehicle. The dog survived, so I recall. This story has its improbabilities, and it resembles a widely retold joke (in which both dog and owner survive) that you can find on the Internet. I've checked Lexis-Nexis and Google (News, Web, and Blogs) with a variety of search strings, and I've failed to turn up the story. You can take it for what it may be worth: either I have an extremely retentive memory for obscure and evanescent news stories, or I'm a highly creative author of fiction without even knowing it.

Here's another kind of AAA that I'm not very familiar with: picking up members of the apposite sex. I remember, or at least I think I remember, that Freud mentioned this somewhere. He referenced the idea that prostitutes were well-known to walk their dogs, as a way to start conversations with prospective customers. I was a child when I read this; perhaps there was also the idea that walking a dog excused what might otherwise be loitering. You could look it up, I suppose, by reading enough of Freud's works. (There's a list of the ones you can skip below.) Anyway, I was reminded of this by an AFP news item on July 31, 2008: ``Saudi bans sale of pet dogs and cats.''

The previous day, according to the report, Othman Al Othman, head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Riyadh, known as the Muttawa, told the Saudi edition of the Al Hayat daily that the commission had started enforcing an old religious edict against selling pet cats and dogs or exercising them in public. The reason for reviving the enforcement of this edict was an alleged rising fashion among some men of using pets in public to make passes at women and disturb families. No further explanation was offered. It seemed that the new enforcement of the old edict might be restricted to Riyadh only, but one never knows.

Here is a list of the works of Freud for which I can easily find complete etexts (mostly Gutenberg) in English or German. The observation mentioned above doesn't appear to be in any of these.

Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology (Liverpool).

Anti-Aircraft Artillery. Also AA. The most common sense of AAA in military usage. See ack-ack. I heard a troop (that would be the singular, right?) interviewed by CNN pronounce this ``triple-Ay.''

Archives of Asian Art. ``Archives of Asian Art is a journal of the Asian Society, one of the world's foremost institutions dedicated to building bridges of understanding between Americans and Asians. It provides information and insights about Asia and the Pacific, and offers fresh perspectives on the forces and issues that are shaping Asia's relations with the United States and the rest of the world.'' Published once per year, and an annual subscription costs WOW! I mean, where WOW is 55 euros in the EU and 58 euros in the ROW.

Area Agency on Aging. Uh, yeah, could you have a look at my knee area? See n4a.

Association of Authors' Agents. An industry organization in the UK, for collective discussion and representation. Agents must be three years in the business before they can join. (This business of establishing membership thresholds seems to be a book-industry thing. In the US, PEN has a threshold for prospective writer-members. In contrast, to join the typical scientific membership society, you mostly just need a couple of current members to vouch for you.)

If you're a writer looking for an agent, try the Writers' Guild of Great Britain (this link may be more robust), the SoA, or the ALCS. The US organization corresponding to the AAA is the AAR. More general discussion of agent associations there.

Australian Automobile Association. ``The official voice of motoring in Australia since 1924... represents'' six state-wide motoring organizations and one each for the Sydney area and the Northern Territory.

Autos, Avus, Attraktionen. (Berlin.)

Triple-A. A size smaller than AA, q.v.

Amateur Athletic Association of America.

American Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants.

American Association for Advertising Agencies. ``Four A's.''

Selected Letters of James Thurber, p. 209, has a letter of August 15, 1959, rejecting a request for Thurber to participate in some project of the A.A.A.A. While he pleads ill health and lack of time, his contempt for the organization is not entirely concealed. He seems to go off on a tangent:

... Youngsters now bring babble boxes for me to talk into, as we sink further and further into the new Oral Culture. The written word will soon disappear and we'll no longer be able to read good prose like we used to could. This prospect does not gentle my thoughts or tranquil me toward the future.

    Thanks anyway and I hope those creative spirits learn how to get through to people the literate way.
American Association for Affirmative Action. They're in favor of it. See also the CCRI entry.

The American Association of Amateur Astronomers. (Here's an alternate link.)

Quad-A. A size smaller than AAA. Vide AA entry for yet more profound enlightenment. Some nine-volt batteries are packages of six series-wired 1.5V AAAA batteries.

American Association Against Acronym Abuse.

Association for the Abolition of Abused Abbreviations and Asinine Acronyms. [Like maybe A7NHY (Aaaaaaardvark No homepage yet). Cf. TLA.] Considerably older than...

Association for the Alleviation of Absurd Acronyms and Asinine Abbreviations. An international organization ``to tax and control the proliferation of initials'' so we don't choke on our alphabet soup. Proposed in The Economist, in a tongue-in-cheek article entitled ``AA (acronyms anonymous)'' [issue of Dec. 11, 1999]. Amelioration or Abatement would have been better words than Alleviation.

As of January 5, 2004, there were 85 entries whose head terms included the letter A and no other letter. Oh sure, we could expand this number considerably, but we're very selective. Cf. AAAAAA.

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. See also FAN.

American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities. ``A voluntary program of inspection and accreditation in surgery facilities to ensure excellence and quality care to patients.'' The October 2001 symposium in Dallas was cancelled. See also AAAC and AAAHC.

American Association of Acupuncture and Bio-Energetic Medicine. Look, why don't you just buy yourself one of those copper bracelets? Convert the money you save into US dollar bills (while the mint still deigns to keep them in circulation) and put a few pictures of pyramids next to your hip.

Academic Affirmative Action Committee.

American Academy of Ambulatory Care. Related entries: AAAHC and AAAASF.

Association of Accrediting Agencies of Canada -- Association des agences d'agrément du Canada. ``To ensure the highest[-]quality education of professionals, the Association of Accrediting Agencies of Canada pursues excellence in standards and processes of accreditation.'' Corresponds to ASPA in US.

American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing. Cf. AAAC.

Maybe you have in mind A3CR2.

American Athletic Association of the Deaf. Old name of the USADSF.

Asian Academy of Aesthetic Dentistry. It doesn't have any very obvious official website, even as of late 2008.

The official publication of the AAAD is the Asian Journal of Aesthetic Dentistry, published in Singapore. Articles are in English, and the first volume was published in 1993. The AAAD holds a general meeting biennially; with the first meeting apparently in 1990.

American Association for Adult Education.

Archives of American Aerospace Exploration. ``[F]ounded by the Digital Library and Archives of the University Libraries of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in April of 1986. Its purpose is to find, preserve, and make available to researchers collections of correspondence, notes, photographs, written or recorded reminiscences, memorabilia, oral histories, as well as any other items that document American aeronautical and space history.'' Hint: not just any reminiscences. Don't call with recollections of your own first flight unless it was so interesting that you got killed. ``The AAAE seeks such collections from pilots, astronauts, researchers in industry and academia, NASA administrators and project managers, and any others who have played a part in the development of United States aerospace history.''

Association for the Advancement of Arts Education. ``The AAAE is the direct result of a comprehensive two-year study which surveyed hundreds of superintendents, principals, teachers, parents, school board members, artists, professional arts administrators and community leaders regarding their views on arts education. The study found a positive element for change in arts education priorities and programs in the Cincinnati area.''

American Association of Alternative Healers. God help us! -- sometimes literally. Cf. AQA.

American Amateur Arabian Horse Association.

Ann Arbor Amateur Hockey Association.

Reserve this letter sequence now! Five-letter sequences in this desirable region of the dictionary are going fast! Contact the initialism registry today!

Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. Ambulatory health care: treating the walking pneumonia (and the boogy-woogy blues). Hence, an alternate expansion: A -- A -- AH -- Choo!

Cf. Achoo! -- The Medical Search Engine. (Gesundheit!)

Related entries: AAAC and AAAASF.

Associação dos Amigos do Arquivo Histórico-Diplomático do Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros (MNE). Portuguese `Association of the friends of the historical diplomatic archive of the ministry of foreign businesses.'

American Association for Artificial Intelligence. AAAI homepage had a nice, understated background texture, and very intelligently included the URL address of the AAAI homepage. AI is a fast-paced field, however, and all that has changed. Founded in 1979.

American Association of Applied Linguistics.

The AAAL passed resolutions opposing ballot initiatives in California and Arizona to end the ghettoization of Hispanic students in bilingual education programs, although that isn't exactly the way the AAAL sees it.

American Association for the Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care. Created by the ACP in 1965 to test the waters of the Aardvark region of name space. Alack and alas, deciding not to go the whole three consecutive A's, ACP changed its name to AALAS in 1967.

American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness. One of six national associations within the AAHPERD.

Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. Committed to squeezing your lemon back into shape. Ohnowait -- I should have visited the website first. It turns out they want to decrease the risk of injuries and fatalities. One way to do that: cancel the 45th Annual Meeting, in San Antonio, Texas, originally scheduled for September 23-26, 2001. No final decision on whether to reschedule had been made when I first wrote in this entry on October 9, 2001, but it was eventually held in that city on October 24-26, 2001.

The AAAM was founded in 1957 ``by the Medical Advisory Committee to the Sports Car Club of America by six practicing physicians whose avocation was motor racing.''

American Academy of Ambulatory Nursing Administration. For nursing administrators who are on their feet, so far as I know -- no webpage yet. Next time I'm in Pitman, New Jersey, I'll be sure to walk over and ask. Hmmm... there're some names -- AAAASF, AAAC, AAAHC -- in which ``ambulatory'' doesn't modify ``administration.'' Oh! Now I get it!

The Alliance of Arkansas Animal Organizations. ``God Bless the Animals, America, and the World.''

Bring back Eric Burdon.

American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. (No ``other'' in the name.) Aaah: om.

American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry. It's got a snappy jingle -- let's go back again! The ABPN offers certification in the subspecialty of addiction psychiatry.

American Association of Avian Pathologists. The pathologies, not the pathologists, are avian. On the other hand, the rhinovirus flu that peaks each Winter uses domestic-animal hosts that include not just mammals (especially pigs) but also fowl (ducks and chickens). Actually, the important nonhuman host population is supposed to be in Asia, so for my purposes they're foreign domestic animals.

Asian-Australasian Association of Animal Production Societies. Never ``AAAPS'' or ``AAAAP.''

American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology. The AAAPP has an eponymous mailing list.

American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Founded in 1780. Membership by invitation only. Society's journal named after the Telemachus of James Joyce's Ulysses.

A constituent society of the ACLS since 1919. ACLS has an overview.

American Association for the Advancement of Science. ``Triple-Ay Ess'' was founded in 1848. Membership by invitation: anyone who can pay the dues is invited to join. I wonder what it takes to become a Fellow. They publish one of the various magazines that have the title Science.

Austrian Association for American Studies, founded in 1975. A constituent association of the EAAS. ``AAAS'' is the standard abbreviation, but their name is also (or officially?) Österreichische Gesellschaft für Amerikastudien.

The current (early 2004) officers of the AAAS are distributed among an Institut für Amerikanistik (`Institute for Americanistics') at Karl-Franzens-Universität in Graz, an Institut für Amerikastudien at Universität Innsbruck, and units called Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik (* Englistics -- what a word! what a word!) in Salzburg, Klagenfurt, and Vienna. Recent AAAS conferences (including the EAAS conference 2000, held in Graz) have been in these cities. Why have you got a problem with this? It's a small country.

Association for the Advancement of Applied Sports Psychology.

American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, founded in 1948 for the purpose of publishing an American journal in the Slavic field; it was not a membership society until 1960. It grew out of the Committee on Slavic Studies, which was established by the ACLS in 1938, and the AAASS did not itself become a constituent society of the ACLS until 1984. ACLS has an overview.

According to itself, AAASS is a ``nonprofit, nonpolitical, scholarly society which is the leading private organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about Russia, Central Eurasia, and Eastern and Central Europe.''

As it happens, not everyone in these areas is a Slav, so the statement constitutes a political, nonscholarly statement that does not advance knowledge. People who think you can't please everybody are optimists; you can't please anybody.

African Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology / Association africaine pour l'avancement des sciences et techniques.

Allergiker- und Asthmatiker-Bund. (Germany.) Interesting that English lacks a shorter word for ``Allergy-sufferer'' when it has words like hypoallergenic.

American Association of Bioanalysts.

American Anorexia Bulimia Association.

American Association of Blood Banks. ``Advancing Transfusion and Cellular Therapies Worldwide.'' Hemocyte therapy by phone? Cool! Taking ``outpatient'' to the next level!

Axis-Aligned Bounding Box. For a graphic object. AABB's (or AABB'ss, if you get into the rhythm of the thing) are used in video games. The rest of this entry is fairly obvious.

Not infrequently, video games involve one or more moving images representing objects, and often it is necessary to determine whether a collision appears to occur between such objects -- i.e., whether certain regions of different images overlap. This collision detection becomes computationally expensive as the borders of the regions become complex. A first step in the process is to define AABB's. For 2D graphics, AABB's bounding rectangles aligned with the screen axes for moving objects and for any objects, moving or not, that they might collide with. (In 3D, AABB's are the natural generalization: right rectangular prisms aligned with, you know, whatever. This is very obvious, but I just like to use ``right rectangular prism'' instead of ``cuboid.'') rectangles needn't be minimal, and for a sprite (loosely, for an object represented by different images at different times), it can be efficient to use a single AABB rather than a time-varying one. It is easy to check for collisions between AABB's.

If AABB's don't overlap, no collision has occurred and no further collision detection is needed. The cheaper the game, the faster the object movement, or the faster the game development, the likelier it is that AABB collisions will be treated as equivalent to object collisions.

The <realtimerendering.com> website has a page with a comprehensive list of links to resources for computing the intersection of many simple objects, including AABB's. As of late June 2017, it was updated just a couple of months ago.

Association of Ambulatory Behavior Healthcare. ``A powerful forum for people engaged in providing Mental Health Services.''
``Promoting the evolution of flexible models of responsive cost-effective ambulatory behavioral healthcare.''

Based in Alexandria, Virginia -- conveniently close to the nation's capital.

The Association for the Advancement of Brain Injured Children. (``Brain Injured'' here refers to something more severe than an impaired facility for inserting hyphens in attributive phrases requiring them.) AABIC is an organization in the state of Western Australia that is a ``support group for families who have a family member undertaking a rehabilitation treatment programme. The Association also provides equipment, library facilities, incontinence pad scheme and family support officers.''

American Academy of Behavioral Psychology. Now the AACBP.

American Association of Bovine Practitioners.

It's good to have a ready comeback when she says ``You're such an animal!'' Cf. AASP.

Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies. Founded 1968, became a constituent society of the ACLS in 1991. ACLS has an overview.

American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences. ``[A]n interdisciplinary professional society designed to serve faculty and administrators at four-year colleges and universities. The annual meeting offers a collegial forum for participants to share research, ideas for professional development, and academic concerns in all areas of the Behavioral and Social Sciences. Student participation is encouraged.''

Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy. Now the ABCT.

AntArctic Bottom Water.

Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada. AAFC en anglais.

American Anglican Council. The AAC and the ACN are two American Anglican organizations similarly dedicated to ``biblical authority, the Great Commission and the historic faith and order of Anglicanism.'' The AAC is trying to reform (i.e., undo recent reforms of) the Episcopal Church (ECUSA); the ACN is trying to build a lifeboat in case AAC fails and the ECUSA sinks.

You know, I'm really impressed with the passion, dedication, and faith of these, um, zealots, errr, re-reforming crusaders, err, whatever. I'm considering burning in hell for eternity so that they can be right.

Amperes AC. Term parallel to ADC and VAC.

Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. A journal published by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), but of greater interest for pharmacology than for microbiology as such.

Asia-Africa Conference. This conference, held in 1955, was so important that the name is normally spelled out, so that it is not confused with all of the many other AAC's with which context might allow it to be confused. (AAC? AAC?) In fact, David E. Hall's African Acronyms and Abbreviations: A Handbook, only lists AAC, AAC, AAC, and AAC. All that mutually validating bellyaching led to the formation of the NAM.

Association of American Colleges. Now known as the AACU.

ATM Access Concentrator. Interfaces legacy system to ATM.

The Audiology Awareness Campaign.

American Association of Certified Appraisers. Has members throughout the English-speaking parts of North America.

Australian ACupuncture Association. Earlier name of the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA). It would have been pretty interesting if the Australian aborigines had independently developed acupuncture medicine. It could have been called puncturango.

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

The University of Michigan used to host a site for AACAP, and still has a useful page.

Association for the Advancement of Central Asian Research.

American Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology. Previously the AABP. See also ABCT.

Just offhand, I'd have to say that <americanacademyofbehavioralpsychology.org> is the longest domain name I can recall.

Airport Associations Coordinating Council.

Alburtis Area Community Center. Alburtis in Pennsylvania.

All Africa Conference of Churches. You can't get any web content until you choose English or français (for CETA) on the start page. For a moment, I thought it was the All Africa Conference of Canadians.

The American Association for Clinical Chemistry.

The American Association for Contamination Control. The existence of an organization with this initialism and expansion is alleged in a few glossaries and one of that putative organization's standards is even referred to in a .com page, but I have my doubts.

American Association of Cereal Chemists.

American Association of Community Colleges. Holds its annual convention in April.

Anne Arundel Community College. Anne Arundel County is in Maryland. ``Anne Arundel'' is pronounced there as a single word with primary stress on the third syllable and secondary stress on the initial syllable. The county, founded in 1650, was named for the wife of Cecil Baltimore, the second Lord Baltimore.

The county seat of Anne Arundel County is Annapolis, which was settled in 1649 by Puritans who had fled Virginia. They originally called their settlement Providence. The Puritan town successfully revolted against the Roman Catholic government of Maryland in the 1655 battle of the Severn River, but lost its independence after the English Restoration. In 1694 the settlement, which had come to be known as Anne Arundel Town, became the provincial capital of Maryland and was renamed Annapolis in honor of Princess Anne. As Queen Anne in 1708, she granted the town its first charter.

Too little too late, I guess. On Oct. 19, 1774, Annapolis staged its own Tea Party (seems to have been a fad). Once Philadelphia was occupied by the British, the Continental Congress met in Annapolis, making it the effective US capital (all major cities were under British control). Sir Robert Eden, the last royal governeur of Maryland, lies buried in the graveyard of St. Anne's Church in Annapolis; he was an ancestor of the British Prime Minister Anthony Eden. Today Annapolis is best known for the US Naval Academy, founded in 1845.

Annapolis became the state capital after independence. Information on the city is offered by The Mining Company and by Covesoft.

The largest city in Maryland is Baltimore. Further Maryland information in this glossary can also be found at the MD entry.

The American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Advisors.

Anglo-American Cataloguing Committee for Cartographic Materials.

Asociación Argentina de Criadores de Caballos de Polo. `Argentine Association of Polo Pony Breeders.'

American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. It's a member of the International Federation of Esthetic Dentistry, whose page for it explains that AACD ``is the largest international dental organization dedicated specifically to the art and science of cosmetic dentistry. Founded in 1984, the AACD has over 7600 members in the United States and in more than 60 countries around the globe. Members of the Academy include cosmetic and reconstructive dentists, dental laboratory technicians, corporations, educators, researchers, students, hygienists, and dental assistants.''

There's also an American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry. Go read the AAED entry. If you can figure out from that what the difference between aesthetic and cosmetic dentistry is, then you're a better man than I, unless you're a woman, in which case you're a better woman than I, even if you can't tell the difference (between aesthetic and cosmetic, of course).

American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry.

Read it here now! (The rest of this entry will probably be transferred into a stool entry as soon as I feel like it.)

For me, the expansion of AACDP evokes an image of a warehouse piled high with four-legged instruments of discomfort. Which reminds me -- in German there is a word Stuhl meaning `stool.' It's cognate with the English word, of course. [It's pronounced something like ``shtool.'' The difference in the initial consonants reflects a regular sound shift that took place in German, and the similarity of the vowels represents luck, although there are other instances (e.g., cool and kuhl, shoe and Schuh, school and Schule).]

I find it interesting that the words stool and Stuhl, in addition to their principal meanings, both mean ``a unit of feces,'' not to put too fine a point on it. It's obviously an instance of metonymy, but the question is whether it is two instances of metonymy. In English the, um, let's call them eliminatory meanings, are plentiful, but the OED has no instances before 1410. The Grimm describes the instances of the corresponding senses in German as being since the fourteenth century [seit dem 14. jh], with the earliest specific instance dated to 1513. It looks as if it might have been borrowed, but both languages contain some intermediate meanings that explain the connection locally. For example, German has expressions corresponding to `go to the stool,' and English has many recorded instances of stool referring specifically to the stool in a certain little room. (And speaking of small enclosed spaces, the German cognate of stove, Stube, means room -- as in bedroom.)

The proverbial use of stool, in expressions like ``falling between two stools,'' is also paralleled quite precisely in German with Stuhl, but this figurative use doesn't strike me as needing to be borrowed.

American Association for Cancer Education. Just what we needed: smarter cancers. Oh well, maybe if they go to college they won't reproduce so much. The AACE publishes JCE jointly with the EACE.

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. ``The Voice of Clinical Endocrinology® - Founded 1991.''

It reminds me of Einstein's comment about ``hormones of general circulation.''

AOBA Apartment Community Excellence (award).

Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel. An immigrants' support organization, founded 1951.

Afro-Asian Common Market. I found this in the New Japanese-English Dictionary of Economic Terms (The Oriental Economist, 1977). A search of the web suggests that this entity exists only as a vague proposal. The only web instances of the name where it was not clear that AACM does not exist were in Japanese and Japanese-English dictionaries. At least the Japanese is consistent, using kanji for kyoudou shijou (`common market') and katakana transliterations for Asia and Africa (ajia and afurika). These are not ad hoc transliterations: the English words have been adopted in Japanese, but borrowings that have occurred recently (i.e., in the last few centuries) are written in the katakana syllabary (rather than in the hiragana syllabary used for native words). It's something like the use of italics in English to indicate young adoptions like naïve. A borderline case would be the word tempura, derived from Portuguese tempero (`spice, seasoning') in the sixteenth century and now sometimes written in hiragana. Nihon Kokugo Daijiten (Shogakukan) lists tempura (te-n-pu-ra) in katakana.

The same twenty-volume dictionary lists arigato (a-ri-ga-to-u, English: `thank you') in hiragana. There's a good reason for this. Although it is widely thought that arigato is a borrowing of the Portuguese obrigato (cognate of English 'obliged'), it clearly is not. There are recorded instances of arigato from before Portuguese contact, and the Japanese would more likely have been something like o-bu-ri-ga-to. In fact, the etymology of arigato is known, follows regular Grimm's-Law-type rules for Japanese, and is encoded in the two-kanji way of writing the word. (See the 2001 discussion on the Linguist List, summarized in this posting.)

Kyoudou (`common, general') is also written kyodo -- the o's are long, and in a strict version of the Hepburn system I think they require macrons. One of the girls' names that is transliterated Yoko is written with hiragana characters for yo-o-ko, but I've never seen it transliterated (as would be appropriate, just as with kyodo) as ``Youko.'' Probably too confusing.

Shijou (or shijo) has various of the noun senses of the English word market, but common market is also sometimes rendered by the somewhat pleonastic kyoudou doumei (doumei is `union, confederation').

Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association. Previously known as the Australian Acupuncture Association (AAcA).

American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology. The AACN initialism seems to be a heavily contested namespace region within the health professions. Considering that this organization represents clinical neuropsychologists in both the US and Canada, they might have called it the Academy of American and Canadian Neuropsychologists. Wouldn't that have worked out better?

American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

American Academy of Cardiovascular Perfusion. Visit the website to hear a medley of patriotic tunes.

American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists. ``The American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists was founded in 1975 by George Winokur MD and others (including many of his students). They shared the belief that a wealth of clinically relevant data is available in every psychiatrist's personal practice experience. The organization was created to provide a forum to share information for psychiatrists engaged in direct patient care; and to keep abreast of the latest scientific developments relevant to the practice of psychiatry.''

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

American Association of Community Psychiatrists. Hey -- it takes a village. Okay, that was just a joke. Here's the official scoop: ``The Mission of AACP is to inspire, empower, and equip Community Psychiatrists to promote and provide quality care and to integrate practice with policies that improve the well being of individuals and communities.'' My gawd -- they really do want to treat the community!

Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules. This was not a single standard but at least two: an American and a British version. The current version (as of 2003) is AACR2R.

American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 1st edition. This abbreviation started to be used when AACR2 appeared. As such, it's a retronym (and an acronym, but not a backronym). Each update lengthens the acronym: AACR, AACR2, AACR2R... Seems to me we're overdue for ``AACR2R+.''

Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd edition. Promulgated in 1978. The same acronym is widely used for AACR2R, a revised version of this.

Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd edition, 1988 revision, prepared under the Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR; edited by Michael Gorman and Paul W. Winkler. (Ottawa: Canadian Library Association; London: Library Association; Chicago: American Library Association, 1988.) The current standard.

A very informative web page for a Monash University course explains:

``While the Editors are at pains to point out that it is not a 3rd Edition, some consider that it should have been called a 3rd Edition.''

Not-so-fast there, dust boy!

American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business. Founded in 1916 to accredit schools of business. At some point, the acronym was temporarily sealed and AACSB was officially ``AACSB -- International Association for Management Education.'' In March 2003 I learned that they were giving out the expansion ``Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business,'' and as of 2013 the website uses ``AACSB International--The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.''

AACSB accredits 672 business schools world-wide as of June 2013; a bit over 500 of those are in the US and Canada. I admire the deft maneuver by which they eased the obsolete or undesired qualifier ``American'' out of the name. But they never replaced either A with ``Accreditation'' or a similar word. It seems that all the names beat around that bush. In the US, AACSB is in fact the premier accrediting organization for MBA programs. (Actually, they accredit the institution, so that, say, a management program in the industrial engineering department of an AACSB-accredited university may be part of the accreditation process. See this page for details.)

It may be that the absence of ``accreditation'' in the name prevents confusion of AACSB with the second-most prestigious B-school accreditation group, which is called the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The AACSB, ACBSP, and straggler IACBE can refer to themselves as the Association, the Council, and the Assembly without risk of confusion, little though the latter might mind. But that's probably not the intent.

Nota bene: Membership in the AACSB is not the same as accreditation by the AACSB. Some member schools describe themselves as candidates for accreditation.

AACSB is based in Tampa, Florida, and maintains an office in Singapore. Internationally, the three largest and most influential business-school accreditation associations are AACSB, AMBA (Association of MBAs, based in London), and EQUIS (European QUality Improvement System, based in Brussels). Writing about accreditation makes me groggy, so entries for AMBA and EQUIS will have to wait.

American Association of Community Theatre. (Sic.)

Apartment Association of Central Texas.

American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Association of American Colleges and Universities. A generous source of empty educationist rhetoric. One of their projects is GEx.

From a faculty POV, this is an organization of administrative types who seek to wrest from faculty types the power to control curriculum, the method being to weaken and de-emphasize majors. So I've read, from third parties, anyway.

Hmmm, les'see here... I notice that the annual meeting of 2006 was held in conjunction with the American Conference of Academic Deans. The conference title was ``Demanding Excellence.''

The organization was established in 1915 as the Association of American Colleges (AAC) at a meeting of college presidents in Chicago. There were 179 founding member schools. It changed its name to the current one in 1995.

To judge from its website and publications, the organization itself prefers the initialism with an ampersand. In unofficial contexts, others generally use plain AACU.

Asian Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus.

Aerosol-Assisted Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). Vide J. A. T. Norman and G. P. Pez, J. Chem. Soc., Chem. Comm., 971 (1991). Cf. Spray CVD: C. Roger, T. S. Corbitt, M. J. Hampden-Smith, T. T. Kodas, Appl. Phys. Lett. 65, 1021 (1994).

Access to Archival Databases. A nightmarishly badly catalogued ``system'' for retrieving files online from NARA, reportedly much better than the old alternatives, if you can imagine.

Allgemeiner Anlagedienst. (Germany.)

American Academy of Dermatology.

Analog-Analog-Digital. Audio CD's may be designated AAD, ADD, or DDD. The successive letters indicate whether analog or digital equipment was used in the respective stages of production: (1) original recording, (2) mixing and editing, (3) mastering (transcription).

Australian Association of the Deaf. ``The Australian Association of the Deaf Inc. is the national peak organisation for Deaf people in Australia. It represents the views of Deaf people who use Auslan (Australian Sign Language).''

Abbreviated Antibiotic Drug Application (to the FDA). As bacteria keep evolving greater immunity to existing antibiotics, we keep needing more new ones. Although bacteria reproduce asexually, they can exchange genetic material (this is relevant in attempts to trace the origin of diseases such as syphilis). Thus, immunity developed by one bacterium may spread to other bacteria. It is especially for this reason that long-term low-level administration of antibiotics to livestock as a growth enhancer is considered a dangerous incubator for immunity. Another use perceived to pose widespread risk is among drug addicts with tuberculosis (TB): TB has a long course, and someone not continuing to take antibiotics for the full term provides an opportunity for bacteria to evolve incremental increases in antibiotic resistance.

American Association of the Deaf-Blind.

American Association of Dental Editors. I really don't think you should put a comma after your canine.

American Association of Dental Examiners. Heck, I know how to do this. Open your mouth. Let me see...yes, yes, you have teeth. Founded in 1882, when this was probably a big deal. Now anyone can do it.

Mission Statement: ``To serve as a resource by providing a national forum for exchange, development and dissemination of information to assist dental regulatory boards with their obligation to protect the public.''

American Association of Diabetes Educators.


Asociación Argentina de Estudios Clásicos. `Argentine Classical Studies Association.' A member of FIEC.

American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians.

American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training. I imagine they didn't have to haggle to become owners of the <aadprt.org> domain.

American Association of Dental Schools. Now the ADEA.

Average Annual Daily Traffic. That's one official expansion, but it seems to mean the average daily traffic, determined by sampling or averaging over an entire year, which might be better expressed as Annual-Average Daily Traffic.

Affirmative Action Employer.

Alliance for Arts Education. Existed around 1976, anyway. I remember in grad school in the early 80's, my composer friend Lee explained that ``we'' (music people) didn't care about federal funding for the arts being reduced further: ``Nixon already cut us out.''

American Association of Endodontists. The E-word is calculated to minimize the terrifying thought of root-canal work.

American Academy of Equine Art. They don't mean the art of being an equestrian.

Alabama Art Education Association. ``[A] professional organization of art educators dedicated to advocating art education by following national standards, providing membership services, professional growth and leadership opportunities.''

American Agricultural Economics Association.

Advanced Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor.

AgChem Alliance for Electronic Communication. US and Canada agriculture-industry electronic-commerce action group. Working to put zebra codes on black-eyed peas, I think. The preponderance of web evidence suggests that the first A in AAEC stands for AgChem, but the successor organization's thumbnail history remembers it as just Ag.

The successor was RAPID, Inc. Details can be found quickly at our RAPID entry.

Agricultur{e|al} and Applied EConomics. An academic department in some schools.

I visited the homepage of the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech in 2003 and was invited to join in celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary. Eagerly, I followed their link to a history of the department, divided into the first thirty years, and the second thirty years. Uh... Oh, of course, that document is from 1997. Umm... Ah, clarification (inferred from intimations on pages six and seven): the department was founded in 1921, so in 1996 began its seventy-fifth year. Almost. Actually, VT has probably had agricultural economics faculty since 1921 (one that year), and a list of ``Course Requirements for First B. S. Degree Program in Agricultural Economics'' survives from 1924, although there was only one student. It was apparently an optional curriculum within the School of Business Administration. In 1927, a Department of Agricultural Economics was finally established within the School of Agriculture. Documents celebrating the 75th anniversary were scheduled to remain on the website until April 5, 2004. (Ah, what the heck -- leave it up.)

I have to say that we are so used to thinking of education in formalized and institutionalized terms that it is often surprising to return to the beginning and see how loosely things initially came together. Often the most important conceptions and intentions of the initial participants, and basic facts about entities and members, are lost in the recycle bin of history. The history of universities and colleges generally, dating back to the schools in Paris and Bologna at the end of the twelfth century, are similarly uncertain.

The sixty-year history also explains subsequent department name changes:

In 1929, rural sociologists were added to the faculty, and the name was changed to the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. The rural sociology faculty were transferred to the new Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1964, and the department's name was again changed to the Department of Agricultural Economics. To better describe the scope of department's work, the name was changed to the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics in 1993.

So perhaps the ``Agriculture and'' form is an unofficial variant. Whatever.

TTU has a Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, also (as at VT) abbreviated in course offerings as AAEC.

UGA has one too. Oh no! They want us to celebrate their 75th anniversary too: ``The Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Georgia celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2004. Professor William Firor organized and chaired the department in 1929.'' Ahh -- now that's the way to do it. Everyone should have such foresight.

Okay, I think I've made my point by now, whatever it was.

Incidentally, I think in most places AAEC is called informally ``Ag Econ.''

Australian Atomic Energy Commission. In 1986, the AAEC was formally replaced by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).

Avid-Authorized Education Centers. Avid Technology, Inc., offers ``Products for StoryTellers.'' It's so interesting that I'm sure you'll be happy to find out for yourself whatever it all is about.

American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry. A member of the International Federation of same (IFED, which it cofounded in 1994). According to IFED's page for AAED, ``[f]ounded in 1975, the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry has members throughout the world. AAED's unique, multidisciplinary membership is comprised [sic, of course] of dentists in the following specialties: dental public health, endodontics, oral and maxiofacial surgery, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and prosthodontics, along with general practitioners and certified dental technicians.'' Cf. AACD.

Aeronautical and Aircraft Experimental Establishment. (British.)

American Academy of Environmental Engineers.

American Association for Employment in Education, Inc. They appear to be in favor of it.

Founded in 1934 as the National Institutional Teacher Placement Association. Teachers complain of lack of respect, but it doesn't help when the AAEE describes itself as ``comprised of colleges, universities, and school districts whose members are school personnel administrators and college and university career services officers.''

American Association of Electromyography and Electrodiagnosis. Later became the AAEM.

Aviation / Aerospace Education Foundation, Inc.

American Association of Exporters & Importers. ``The national voice of the international trade community since 1921.''

Australian Adult Entertainment Industry, Inc.

American Academy of Emergency Medicine.

American Academy of Environmental Medicine.

American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine. Bzzzzzzzzzd-pop! Bzzzzzzzzzzd-pop! Used to be the ``American Association of Electromyography and Electrodiagnosis'' (AAEE). Here's a page served by an online exposition.

Whoops! AAEM namespace is gettin' ta be as crowdid as AAEE! In these hyar prairies, when you can see your neighbah's fahm, it's tahm to move on. Now they're AANEM.

Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. This is probably equivalent to EO/AAE, but you better chant all the mantras, just to be sure no one sues the deep pockets off your sorry butt. (See the ADEA for a longer, safer, more ridiculous version.)

Couldn't they just say they obey the law? By pointing out that they obey these particular laws, aren't they implying that whether they obey other laws is a matter of discretion? Did you ever wonder what really would happen if the ob-AA/EOE or equivalent information were somehow omitted from an advertisement? The experiment has been performed! In the August 18, 1986, edition of C&EN (p. 63, center bottom), a help-wanted ad appeared that only described the qualifications sought and instructions for applying (by the following October 1). The vigilant AA apparatus of the employer (Arizona State University) sprang into action, managing to get the following emergency correction into the September 15 edition (p. 64, right bottom):

The advertisement for the position of MATERIALS TECHNICIAN in the ... which appeared in the Academic Positions Section of the August 18, 1986 issue of Chemical and Engineering News inadvertantly [sic] did not include the facts that Arizona State University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and minorities are encouraged to apply. Application deadline extended to October 15, 1986 or until filled. Submit resume and 3 references to...

It is certainly true that the AA/EOE status of ASU is a ``fact'' distinct from the encouragement of minorities to apply. Still, the ability to deduce the latter fact from the former would not be surprising in someone with the required B.S. or M.S. degree in chemistry or a related field (let alone the ``highly desirable'' ``experience on the synthesis and characterization of solid state materials, including a working knowledge of crystal growth, vacuum system and inert atmosphere techniques'').

Okay, now for a pop quiz. Everyone loves a quiz! Here are two percentages: 3.0% and 4.4%. They represent the fraction of physicians who were black, based on the US censuses of 1960 and 1990. Here's the quiz question: which year had the lower percentage, 1960 or 1990? Think it over, take your time.

American Association of Equine Practitioners. There's no longer a DNS listing for <aaep.org>. I'm worried. Have they gone the way of the AASP?

They're back! Yippee-aye-ayy!!! Cool horsehead-shaped yin-yang logo, too.

``The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) is the world's largest professional association of equine veterinarians. The AAEP's mission is to improve the health and welfare of the horse, to further the professional development of its members, and to provide resources and leadership for the benefit of the equine industry.''

There's also an international association (IAEP). Donkeys still don't get any respect.


[Publications of] American Archaeological Expedition to Syria.

American Association of Engineering Societies.

Astrological Association of East Tennessee. ``Welcome, Fellow Seekers!''

American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. Is that pronounced ``eats''? That's what I does when I is stressed. Or is it ``ates''? I wisheds they explaineds this -- it's beginning to freak me out!!!

``A multidisciplinary network of professionals who are committed to the advancement of intervention for survivors of trauma. The Academy aims to identify expertise among professionals, across disciplines, and to provide meaningful standards for those who regularly work with survivors. Today, the Academy's international membership includes individuals from over 200 professions in the health-related fields, emergency services, criminal justice, forensics, law, business and education. With members in every state of the United States and over 45 foreign countries, the Academy is now the largest organization of its kind in the world.''

(Is D.C. counted among states or foreign countries?)

AAETS defines traumatic stress as ``the emotional, cognitive and behavioral experience of individuals who are exposed to, or who witness, events that overwhelm their coping and problem-solving capabilities.''

Squaring the circle using only compass and straight-edge, finding the roots of a general quintic equation, expressing the indefinite integral of the Gaussian in closed form, finding a polynomial-time algorithm to solve a traveling-salesman problem, solving the quantum measurement problem, combining all four fundamental forces in a GUT. Oh yeah, I'm a survivor. (See Eric Zorn's report at the FLT entry.)

``Traumatic stress has many `faces.' In addition to the devastating effects of large-scale disasters and catastrophes, the Academy is committed to fostering a greater appreciation of the effects of day-to-day traumatic experiences (e.g., chronic illness, accidents, domestic violence and loss [and nonintegrability]). Our aim is to help all victims to become survivors and, ultimately, thrivers.''

Advanced Authoring Format. It's a ``multimedia file format that enables content creators to easily exchange digital media and metadata across platforms.'' So shouldn't that be the Advanced Co-authoring Format? It seems someone may have noticed the problem; during the first quarter or so of 2007, the AAF Association, Inc. (AAFA) became the AMWA (Advanced Media Workflow Association). Considering the groups involved, this seems to be of interest to television-related people and therefore almost inconceivably boring.

Affordable Art Fair. The idea is that no one should have to pay a lot of money to have a nice piece of abstract, pretentious crap to adorn the home. ``AF is the place for new and established collectors to discover and buy paintings, drawings, sculptures, video, photography and limited edition prints from distinguished galleries, all priced from $100 - $5000. This year [2007] the Fair will host more than 60 galleries with approximately a quarter of the exhibitors from Europe, Canada and South America.'' (Update 2010: ``priced from just $100 up to $10,000.'')

It is well known among artists that the way to get your work in the public eye and establish your name as you're starting out is to give your work away for free to established collectors. They then turn around and lend it for free to galleries. (Galleries would never display work that an artist tried to fob off on them directly. After all, curators have taste and perception, and one thing that just screams bad taste is giving it away for free.) That's one way the rich get richer and the poor poorer, but the real salt in the wound is that the poor have no place to display this ugly stuff except their own homes.

Alien Ant Farm. Their web pages advertise DVD's and talk about record labels and about being artists. I've never heard their stuff, but I'm sure it's music to some ears.

American Advertising Federation. They're trying to buy a good reputation. There ought to be money in flattering that vanity; check out their ``College Connection.''

Remember, the escape key turns off moving gifs (in Netscape, anyway).

They have

  1. ADDY awards,
  2. an Advertising Hall of Achievement, and
  3. an Advertising Hall of Shame, er, Fame.
If blots on the escutcheon are anything like those on ordinary cloth, these correspond to
  1. remove with water,
  2. remove with bleach,
  3. remove with scissors.

The Hall of Achievement is for those under forty, and the Hall of Shame is for those who are dead or soon will be (``[t]hose men and women who have completed their primary careers''). The Hall of Shame is unusually repulsive, as befits AAF.

``Upon induction into the Advertising Hall of Fame, each honoree receives a `Golden Ladder' trophy signifying membership in the Advertising Hall of Fame. This trophy, designed by the late Bill Bernbach, carries an inscription created by the late Tom Dillon, both of whom are members of the Hall of Fame.'' Both indeed.

The inscription: ``If we can see further, it is because we stand on the rungs of a ladder built by those who came before us.'' This inscription is a perfect epitome (epitomy) of advertising crassness. Firstly, because like typical advertising copy it is derivative. Specifically, it is derived from an expression that dates back at least to the twelfth century. The original form involves seeing further by standing on the shoulders of giants (midgets seeing further in the standard versions). Secondly, because it is clumsy. (I'll come back later and express as elegantly as possible the inelegance of Dillon's locution. Now I have to move the computer.)

American Architectural Foundation. It ``educates individuals and communities about the power of architecture to transform lives and improve the places where we live, learn, work, and play.'' AAF has teamed with Target in ``Great Schools by Design,'' a ``national initiative to improve the quality of America's schools and communities.''

Target stores are right rectangular prisms with a minimum of windows or architectural interest. Bauhaus Kaufhaus, sorta. Your average 1940's brick schoolhouse seems an ornate cathedral by comparison. A common quick orientation to some engineering disciplines not unrelated to architecture: civil engineering makes targets, mechanical and aerospace engineering destroys them. The thought that this might not be a bad thing withal was expressed by John Betjeman in 1937, with Slough as the contemplated target. (This was not John Bunyan's parabolic Slough of Despond, but instead a hyperbolic Slough for desponding of in a real England.)

American Armoured Foundation, Inc. Why isn't that ``armored''? There's an AAF Tank Museum in Danville, Virginia; I'm not sure what the AAF comprises besides the museum.

Advanced Authoring Format Association, Inc. Often partially abbreviated as ``AAF Association.'' During the first quarter of 2007, AAFA became the AMWA.

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. AAC in French.

All America Football Conference. A professional football league that operated for four seasons (1946-1949). Their teams included the Baltimore Colts (which only started up in 1947), (they replaced) the Miami Seahawks (which folded after one the first season), a Buffalo team that was known as the Bisons (1946) and (the first time the name was used by a pro football team) the Bills (1947-9), the Chicago Rockets (name changed to Hornets for 1949), Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Dons, and the San Francisco Forty-Niners.

Two teams -- the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, took the names of existing local baseball teams (see Dodgers). What makes this unusually confusing is that there were just previously, or would soon be later, NFL teams with the same (or similar) baseball-team names. But first some general history...

With the end of the post-war boom in 1948, the AAFC could not sustain its battle with the NFL, and scrappy AAFC Commissioner Kessing -- I'm sorry, that was AAFC Commissioner Scrappy Kessing -- sought terms. At the end of the '49 season, the NFL merged-in three teams from the AAFC -- the Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Baltimore Colts -- and held a special draft for players from the four other surviving AAFC teams.

The Colts francise folded after one season (1950) in the NFL and the 49ers endured many lean years, but the Browns, which had dominated the AAFC and won all four AAFC titles, went on to win the 1950 NFL title against the LA Rams (formerly of Cleveland) in Cleveland. Cleveland continued to be dominant in the NFL, though less overwhelmingly than in the AAFC.

Now about those NYC-area teams... The NFL's Brooklyn Dodgers changed name to the Tigers for 1944 (please don't ask me about Detroit) and merged with the Boston Yanks for 1945. The owner of the defunct NFL Brooklyn Dodgers/Tigers became a founder of the AAFC and owner of the AAFC Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946.

For 1946-1948, there were two AAFC teams in the five boroughs: the New York Yankees and the sorry Brooklyn Dodgers. The Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team was eventually offered a chance to buy their ailing namesake but passed. For 1949, AAFC Dodgers merged with the stronger local AAFC team to become the Brooklyn-New York Yankees, the same year that the NFL's Boston Yanks moved and became the New York Bulldogs. With the folding of the AAFC, the Bulldogs changed their name back in 1950, becoming the New York Yanks.

It happens that the first regular-season game ever played by the San Francisco Forty-Niners (and the first played by a California pro football team) was a 21-17 loss to the (AAFC) New York Yankees in September 8, 1946. In 1950, with the AAFC Yankees defunct and many of the players distributed by draft to other NFL teams, the San Francisco Forty-Niners played their first regular season game in the NFL on September 17 -- a 21-17 loss to the New York Yanks.

The NFL's Yanks did poorly and were sold to a group in Dallas, where they failed by midseason (1951, I think) as the NFL's Texans. They stayed on the road for the rest of the season and went to Baltimore for 1952 to become the new Baltimore Colts. Don't hold me to the precise years, or names or anything, 'cause I just blew a brain gasket.

Someday when you're older and have plenty of spare RAM, I'll tell you about the White Soxes.

Association of American Feed Control Officials. I imagine that AAFCO does good work, whut-everrr it is, but all I can think of is like, gag me with a spoon!

American Association of Food Hygiene Veterinarians. It's ``an organization of veterinarians whose professional activities and interests encompass the many contributions of veterinary medicine to a hygienic food supply.'' Kill them and eat them, but keep it clean?

AAFHV is also ``the United States constituent of the World Association of Veterinary Food Hygienists; the only professional food hygiene group represented in the AVMA House of Delegates.'' The AVMA ``House of Delegates''? It sounds so 1776.

American Academy of Family Physicians. They also offer a site with ``health information for the whole family.''

American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics. ``The Academy consists of over 500 specialists around the world, dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, truth, and competency in research, in teaching, and in the clinical practice of crown and bridge prosthodontics.'' Dentures.

American Academy of Forensic Psychology.

American Association of Feline Practitioners. They're veterinarians, not cat burglars.

American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. You know, with a little nip here and a tuck there, I could make a much more attractive and youthful-looking acronym for you. It's not about vanity, you know: it's simply good business sense. Your organization name is the face you present to the world; you'd be amazed how a pretty face draws customers. It makes you wonder what you're really selling.

Average Annual Full-Time Equivalent (students registered). A SUNY-specific acronym, apparently. More are explained at the end of this document.

Afdeling Agrarische Geschiedenis. Dutch `Department of Agrarian History.' See A.A.G. Bijdragen.

Association of American Geographers. Everyone agrees that it was founded in 1904 in Philadelphia, but no one explains why. Did it have to do with the San Francisco earthquake (1906), the Russian-Japanese war, Einstein's special theory of relativity?

A constituent society of the ACLS since 1941. ACLS has an overview.

Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland.

A.A.G. Bijdragen
A.A.G. Bijdragen. `[Department of Agrarian History] Contributions,' a journal published approximately annually by the A.A.G. (the department whose name is abbreviated in the journal title) at Wageningen UR. It's a monograph series, usually one per year, in Dutch (usually with an English summary).

American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists. Publishes a journal.

All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. It iexisted from 1943 to 1954. It is now defunct. And if they were to bring it back now they wouldn't use the word girls.

All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Players' Association. Not defunct.

Average Annual Growth Rate.

American Association of Geodetic Surveying. Member organization of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM).


Association of Ancient Historians. With members like Herodotus and Thucydides? No... historians of antiquity, not from it. You know, like tuna that tastes good, not tuna with good taste. There's a directory of Ancient Historians in the USA in Canada.

Association of Art Historians.
We are the leading subject association for art history and visual culture in the UK. The AAH plays a key role in helping shape and secure the future of art history. We support those involved in teaching, learning and research.
You can inhale now.

They seem to work with rather a long timeline. I received a general announcement for the 2018 annual conference, to ``be co-hosted by the Courtauld Institute of Art and King's College London on 5th-7th April 2018,'' on April 2, 2017. Then again, the ``theme of the conference is `Look out!'.''. (Kind of them to single-quote that for me.) The expectation is that they'll attract ``around 1000 researchers, practitioners, museum curators and heritage partners'' whatever that last is. Isn't it amazing that huge events like this occur and don't make the news?

Australian Academy of Humanities.

American Academy of Healthcare Attorneys. I'm hurt! Quick -- get me a personal injury lawyer! It's an emergency: call an ambulance chaser!

Phew! Okay, now that I'm convalescing I'll be needing a malpractice specialist.

American Animal Hospital Association. (The link is to a website aimed mostly at veterinarians, with conference information and such. The AAHA also has a healthypet.com website with information for pet owners.)

American Association of Homes for the Aging. Now AAHSA.

Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians. It ``provides education, resources and support that enhance the ability of veterinarians to create a positive, and ethical relationship between people, animals, and their environment.'' When I visited in Jan. 2009, the homepage had a picture of someone in green scrubs and white lab jacket with one hand on the pet and one hand on the owner. ``Please add http://AAH-ABV.org to your list of favorite Web sites.''

American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management. Ah-- ahem, we'd like a word with you about your bill.

According to a partner organization, it ``is the premier professional organization in healthcare administrative management. AAHAM was founded in 1968 as the American Guild of Patient Account Management. Initially formed to serve the interests of hospital patient account managers, AAHAM has evolved into a national membership association that represents a broad-based constituency of healthcare professionals.''

American Association for History and Computing.

You say you wanted the Association of Academic Health Centers? That's the AHC.

American Association for Health Education. One of six national associations within the AAHPERD.

American Association for Higher Education. Take another drag if you're not high enough yet.

The AAHE has been described as ``kind of like the Association of American Colleges but with a higher pulse rate.'' Hmmm -- interesting metaphor. On March 24, 2005, AAHE Board of Directors announced that ``the Association will cease operations later this year.

In a statement to AAHE members, board chair Bernadine Chuck Fong, president of Foothill College, said, Despite vigorous efforts, president Clara M. Lovett and the board concluded that the organization no longer has the resources to continue its historic leadership role in higher education.

`The spirit of AAHE must and will continue,' said Dr. Lovett, adding that plans are under way to continue the Association's work in Assessment, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Electronic Portfolios, Campus Program, and other initiatives under the leadership of other associations and academic institutions. She said that discussions are already under way with the Lumina Foundation concerning relocation of the BEAMS (Building Engagement and Attainment of Minority Students) Project and with Heldref Publications, publisher of Change magazine. Since 1985, AAHE has provided editorial leadership for the magazine.''

American Academy of Health, Fitness and Rehabilitation Professionals. Founded 1992 by Michael K. Jones, PhD, RPT, and Jeffrey Wright, RPT, gave a bunch of courses and granted a bunch of certifications up to at least 2004. However, sometime between then and April 2006, when I wrote this entry, it seems to have collapsed and died. Use it or lose it, I guess.

As Always Hoping I Have Left No One Out. Traditional disclaimer following list of acknowledgments on David Meadows's sometimes-even-more-than-weekly Explorator. Meadows stopped using this abbreviation in Spring 2003, perhaps because of the angry controversy over whether it shouldn't be a.a.h.I.h.l.n.o.o. or a.a.h.i h.l.n.o.o. Cf. nitle.

American Association for the History of Medicine. Founded in 1925, it is ``North America's oldest continuously functioning scholarly organization devoted to the study of all aspects of the history of the health professions, disease, public health, and related subjects. It ... comprise[s] ... professional historians, practicing health professionals, librarians and archivists in the history of the health sciences, graduate students and students actively seeking professional degrees.''

James Simon Kunen's The Strawberry Statement: Notes of a College Revolutionary (Random House, 1968) is about the author's experiences at Columbia University, which in those days was also known as Guerrilla U. It includes the author's parody of a literary analysis of a very short poem, reproduced in its entirety here: ``Them? / Ahem!''

American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, Dance, Dance!

(Okay, just kidding.)

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. The former AHP.

Australasian Association for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science. Also A2HPS3. The website looks authentically historical -- it was last modified in 1997 and has links to the 1994 and 1995 newsletters. I guess it's a shoestring organization like ours. Here's a little comradely advice: lose some unproductive letters. We started out with grandiose plans, as the Stammtisch Beau Fleuve. People would stop us at Burger King to ask us how to pronounce the name (``an gimme fries wit dat, too''). We weren't turning a profit, so we had to let a lot of characters go; we kept only the most initial ones, the ones up front, the profit-centers. Now we're SBF -- efficient. We still can't seem to turn a profit, though. I think the flaw in our business plan may be that we don't charge anybody for anything, but we can't afford an accountant to tell us for sure.

American Association for Hand Surgery.

American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. Previously known as AAHA.

Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries.

Association of Academic Health Sciences Library Directors.

Alfred Adler Institut Düsseldorf.

American Association of Immunologists.

Arab American Institute. No hyphen. ``[A] non-profit, nonpartisan national leadership organization for Americans of Arab descent who are interested in the democratic process.''

Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association.

Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. (I hope that's pronounced ``Aye, aye! Coup. But I'm not going to make any effort to find out if it is, because it probably isn't.) A/k/a Alabama Independent Colleges. AAICU is an affiliate of NAICU. Surprised? You shouldn't be. AAICU seems to be growing briskly. When I read the homepage they had six members, and by the time the ``Member Institutions'' link had loaded, they had 14. (It wasn't a long wait, okay? I've got DSL.)

One of their members is the United States Sports Academy (USSA).

American Academy of Implant Dentistry. ``Dental implants are substitutes for the roots of missing teeth. They act as an anchor for a replacement tooth or crown or a set of replacement teeth.''

American Association of Individual Investors.

Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine. It ``consists of the Association of Professors of Medicine (APM), the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine (APDIM), the Association of Subspecialty Professors (ASP), the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (CDIM), and the Administrators of Internal Medicine (AIM).''

American Academy of Insurance Medicine.

Asociación Argentina de Informática Médica.

Association for Applied Interactive Multimedia.

Atlanta Association of Interpreters and Translators. The Georgia chapter of the American Translators Association.

American Association for Justice. Not to be confused with the Justice League of America. The JLA defends the innocent while wearing colorful tights; the AAJ defends anyone while wearing Brooks Brothers suits or similarly uncolorful attire. The AAJ is a rebranding of the American Trial Lawyers Association.

AfroAsiatic { Languages | Linguistics }.

Aid Association for Lutherans.

ATM Adaptation Layer. The layer of electronics closest to the sender or receiver. It chops up voice, data, image, video, whatnot data into 48-byte packets of information and passes them to the ATM layer, which slaps on a 5-byte header to produce 53-byte cells. AAL also performs the reverse procedure (generating audio, video, etc. from packetized data).

The AAL is divided into an upper sublayer called a convergence sublayer (CS) and a lower sublayer called SAR for segmentation and reassembly.

AAL uses different protocols for different kinds of data. See AAL1 through AAL5.

A shrub found in the East Indies (according to OSPD4) and in the Scrabble tablelands. The plural form is aals.

German word for `eel.' (Masculine by default; plural form `Aale.')

American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. Organized as the Animal Care Panel (ACP) in 1950, took current name in 1967. A professional, nonprofit association of people and institutions ``concerned with the production [I like that word], care and study of laboratory animals [per se].''

Amphibious Assault Landing Craft.

American Academy for Liberal Education. You can join for a mere US$3000, but you have to be an institution.

A tree found in the tropics and in the vowel-rich soils of the Scrabble forest, which is seeded with as many A's as I's (nine of each). The plural form is aaliis.

American Association of Law Libraries.

ATM Adaptation Layer (AAL) Protocol Data Unit.

American Association for Leisure and Recreation. One of six national associations within the AAHPERD.

Association of American Law Schools. Founded 1900. A constituent society of the ACLS since 1958. ACLS has an overview.

Association of American Library Schools. Read this in a 1976 item; it may not be current.

Asian American Law Students Association at UB.

ATM Adaptation Layer (AAL) type 1. Protocol standard for constant bit rate (CBR) traffic like audio and video, and for emulation of TDM-based circuits such as DS-1 and E-1.

ATM Adaptation Layer (AAL) type 2. Protocol standard for supporting real-time VBR communications -- i.e., connection-oriented traffic, a/k/a streaming audio and video.

ATM Adaptation Layer (AAL) type 3 and 4. Protocol standard that upports both real-time and non-real-time VBR, as well as SMDS.

ATM Adaptation Layer (AAL) type 5.

Air-to-Air Missile.

The initials of Alexei A. Maradudin, well-known researcher in the physics of solids, with a particular focus (sorry, I had to say that) on the use of light scattering to study their surfaces and excitation spectra. His first publication, in 1957, was his only one that year, and so far about half-way through 2010 he's apparently only published three papers, but in between he has been prolific enough; ISI credits him with 600 publications.

A.A.M. are also the initials of Albert Abraham Michelson, famous for measuring the speed of light very precisely.

For some mild coincidences involving two initials and three scholars, instead of vice versa, see this A. E. entry.

Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers. They go by ``Auto Alliance'' for short, but others use AAM for shorter. The AAM, founded in January 1999, is the successor of AAMA, which was disbanded at the end of 1999. The Washington office closed its doors for the last time on New Year's Eve. The AAMA had been a trade association of American car manufacturers for 98 years, and after Chrysler Corp. was acquired by Daimler-Benz AG in 1999, the two remaining members -- GM and Ford -- quickly decided to replace it with a new organization.

The trade group was initially being bankrolled largely by six members with full voting rights: General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Toyota, Nissan, and Volkswagen. (``Industry maverick'' Honda rejected overtures to join the new alliance.) BMW, Volvo, and Mazda would participate in meetings and discussions as associate members. Membership has varied a little bit. By January 2001, FIAT, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, and Porsche had joined.

Here's a nice correct use of the verb comprise, from the alliance's about page (browsed in July 2007; lower-cased for readability): ``The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a trade association of 9 car and light truck manufacturers including BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen.'' Oh sorry, that was just an odd use of the verb include.

(As of July 2007, ``DaimlerChrysler'' was correct. The previous May, an affiliate of the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., New York, agreed to buy an 80.1% equity interest in a future new company, Chrysler Holding LLC, with DaimlerChrysler to hold a 19.9% equity interest in the new company. The closing of the transaction took place on August 3, 2007. It may have taken a couple of months for the various name changes to become official. DaimlerCrysler was renamed Daimler AG and its stock ticker symbol (it's listed on the Frankfurt and Stuttgart stock exchanges and the NYSE) changed to DAI.

American Association of Museums. Holds its annual meeting in May.

American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. GM manufacturing facilities in Saginaw, New York (in the Buffalo area), which were spun off as a separate entity in 1994.

In February 1997, negotiations between the new management and the UAW went to the eleventh hour, eventually settling on wage and bonus terms similar to the union's pact with GM, with wages to rise to $25/hr in the third year of the agreement. At the time, industry analysts said the agreement would put American Axle at a substantial cost disadvantage relative to other component makers.

Nevertheless, in September 1997, AAM announced a deal to sell a majority stake to the Blackstone Group, a New York-based investment group. American Axle concentrates on components for rear-drive vehicles and makes axles for nearly all GM trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUV) produced in North America, and that sector was booming even as car sales declined.

American Automobile Manufacturers' Association. I visited their website some time after Chrysler was bought by Daimler-Benz and it looked pretty moribund. For details, see the entry for the AAM (the successor organization). The AAMA was itself the successor or renaming of the MVMA.

Architectural Aluminum Manufacturers' Association.

Association of American Medical Colleges.

Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation.

American Assembly for Men in Nursing. ``Assembly''? Sounds like high school. ``The purpose of AAMN is to provide a framework for nurses as a group to meet, discuss, and influence factors which affect men as nurses.
Membership is open to any nurse -- male or female -- to better facilitate discussion and to meet the most important objective of AAMN -- strengthening and humanizing health care.''

AAMOF, aamof
As A Matter Of Fact. (Treated as a word when written in lower case, so first letter is capitalized at beginning of a sentence.) Cf. more careful AFAIK.

As A Matter Of Interest. But is it a fact?

American Association of Medical Record Librarians. Once the name of an organization founded as the Association of Record Librarians of North America (ARLNA, q.v.).

American Association for Medical Systems and Informatics.

Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University. The campus is in Normal.

Action for Animals Network.

American Academy of Neurology.

American Academy of Nursing.

Army After Next. Some speculative exercises conducted by the US Army in 1998, intended to explore possible future issues in a different sort of next war than we eventually got.

Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.

Atti della Accademia di Scienze morali e politiche della Società nazionale di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti in Napoli. In a fairly literal translation: `Acts of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of the National Society of Sciences, Letters, and Arts at Naples.' The abbreviation AAN is used by APh.

The expansion of AAN is sometimes written with ``di'' (`of') in place of ``in'' (`at, in'). This sometimes reflects the influence of the APh abbreviation list (that was the case for this very entry, originally) or the history of the society, which was founded in 1808 and was known as the Società Reale di Napoli until the end of the last monarchy (except that it was Società Reale Borbonica di Napoli from 1817 to 1861). There is some apparent disagreement regarding whether the ``di'' was officially changed to ``in'' on February 19, 1948, when -- on instructions from the two-year-old republican government -- ``Reale'' was struck from the name. (See a detailed history in English here.) In any case, the journal is not just for the arts of, at, or in Naples; it just happens that Naples is the location of Italy's national academy of sciences. I'm not absolutely sure this is Italy's only national academy of sciences, and I don't know if this journal is still published. I have begun research into these questions, however, and I am already able to inform you that my library doesn't and never has received the journal.

Also, one sometimes sees the name ending in ``Arti di Napoli, Napoli,'' but that's just a bit of informational sugar, as the computer scientists would say. It's like the ``London'' in ``London Times'' or in ``Nature (London).'' Or it would be if, say, the London Times were called the London Times, and somebody for some reason wrote the ``London London Times.'' Not to mention the London [Manchester] Guardian.

American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

Arthroscopy Association of North America.

American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine. Used to be the ``American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine'' (AAEM).


American Association for Neo-Latin Studies. ``The purpose of the AANLS is to promote the study and teaching of Latin and Latin-language literature in their Neo-Latin manifestations, from the beginning of Italian humanism until the present day. Despite [the SBF glossarist would write ``because of'' here] the sheer size, [but despite the] importance, and longevity of this body of texts, much Neo-Latin literature remains overlooked and in acute need of every kind of scholarly attention, including basic inventorying and editing of texts; application of critical methods old and new; up-to-date translations for a wide audience; and cross-disciplinary linkage of these texts to the variety of fields for which they constitute valuable evidence, including the physical and social sciences as well as the humanities.''

I am reminded of ``Neo-Spanish,'' which is discussed at the 40 entry.

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. (``Naturopathic physicians'' are ``N.D.'s.'')

American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

American Association for Nude Recreation. Based in Kissimmee(!), Florida. (Website design by Captain Jack Communications.) Founded in 1931. The AANR affiliate near my new home describes itself as a ``family naturist resort.'' It was founded in 1947. At the time that it was founded, the area was mostly farms. ``Sunny Haven'' is behind some high walls in the woods.

Alberta Association of Optometrists.

a. a. O.
German, am angegebenen Ort or am angeführten Ort, `at the place given' or `at the place indicated': loc. cit. This glossary has an entry for this Ort.

American Academy of Ophthalmology. ``The Eye M.D. Association.''

American Academy of Optometry.

American Academy of Osteopathy. Promotes or promoted the concept of cranial therapy. Listed on Quackwatch's page of ``Questionable Organizations.''

American Association of Orthodontists. Oh, man! It's a traffic jam of medical specialties with AAO abbreviations!

Anglo-Australian Observatory. Consists of the 3.9 meter Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) and the 1.2 meter UK Schmidt Telescope (UKST) on Siding Spring Mountain, outside Coonabarabran, NSW; and a laboratory in the Sydney, Australia, suburb of Epping. Funding by Australian and British governments.

Anodic Aluminum Oxide. Aluminum oxide (Al2O3) is one of those Cinderella materials, like graphite and soot, that was known but underappreciated before the nanoeverything craze. AAO is a mostly amorphous form of the material, grown electrolytically, as the name implies. AAO has a self-ordered pattern of pores that has been found very useful as a substrate for all manner of nanodevices.

American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy. Promotes or promoted the concept of clinical ecology. Listed on Quackwatch's page of ``Questionable Organizations.''

American Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors. Also went by the initialism ODC; changed its name in 1972 to become the IADC, q.v.

American Association of Orthopaedic [sic] Foot & Ankle Surgeons.

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Ah--Oww! You know, I don't like the way that initialism looks. It's strangely articulated. No, no -- don't move it! Lie perfectly still! We'll get a spinal professional to look at it very soon.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Founded in 1933. ``[T]he preeminent provider of musculoskeletal education to orthopaedic surgeons and others in the world.''

American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Founded in 1997 by the board of directors of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. A Washington, D.C., lobby for that other AAOS. There's also a PAC, founded in 1999.

Academy of American Poets. (No, no, not the ``American Academy of Poets'' -- there is no such organization.) They don't call themselves the ``AAP'' -- it's not poetical; they call themselves ``the Academy.'' I've just placed the entry here for sensible people. Sensible people probably also want to know what the AAP does. The AAP promotes public appreciation of poetry. They do this by paying audiences so that poets don't have to read to empty rooms. (I guess I better admit right away that the previous sentence is a joke; it's pretty believable, and loosely speaking it's probably true, so you shouldn't feel embarrassed or inadequate or downright imbecilic if you didn't see that it was an obvious joke. There, there, now -- it's alright, gimme a big smile!)

The AAP sponsors NPM.

American Academy of Pediatrics.

American Academy of Periodontology. We actually have a tiny bit of additional information about the AAP at this PI entry.

Applications Access Point.

Asian Academy of Prosthodontics. The organization name is prominently (i.e., in the window title of all its pages) misspelled (``Prosthtodoctic'') at its website as of November 24, 2008. Isn't prosthodontics all about looking good?

Association for the Advancement of Psychotherapy. See AJP.

Association of Academic Psychiatry.

Association of American Physicians.

Association of American Publishers, Inc. About three hundred member publishers, as of late 2002. Pat Schroeder represented Colorado in the US House of Representatives (D-CO1: Denver) from 1973 to 1996. After a brief stint at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School, she became president of the AAP in June 1997. She still holds that position in 2007.

Atti dell'Accademia Pontiana, Napoli.

Australasian Association for Philosophy. AAP(NZ) is its New Zealand Division.

Australian Associated Press. Australia's national news agency, founded um, in 1940 or a bit before. Most Australian news is sourced from AAP. In addition to national, regional, and local general news from Australia, there's significant coverage of company developments through its press release service.

American Academy of Physician Assistants.

American Association of Port Authorities. An ``alliance of leading ports in the Western Hemisphere [that] protects and advances the common interests of its diverse members as they connect their communities with the global transportation system.''

``Diverse'' is a general-purpose word meaning ``it's all good.''

American Association of Psychiatric Administrators.

Asian American Psychological Association. ``The AAPA was formed to advance the welfare of Asian Americans through the development of Asian American psychology.''

American Academy of Professional Coders. The Academy ``was founded in an effort to elevate the standards of medical coding by providing ongoing education, certification, networking and recognition.''

American Association of Political Consultants. They have a Code of Professional Ethics! And a Hall of Fame! In 2013, Lee Atwater was posthumously inducted into the latter!

American Association of Poison Control Centers. Visit now and learn the number of a poison control center near (or maybe not so near) you.

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

American Association of People with Disabilities. According to JFA, the AAPD is ``the largest national nonprofit cross-disability member organization in the United States [you wonder how far you can loosen the multiple qualifications and preserve the truth value of this statement; AAPD's self-description scratches the national but adds nonpartisan], dedicated to ensuring economic self-sufficiency and political empowerment for the more than 56 million Americans with disabilities. [Almost one in five? Is this mostly the elderly popsulation, or are they just counting extreme stupidity as a disability?] AAPD works in coalition with other disability organizations for the full implementation and enforcement of disability nondiscrimination laws, particularly the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.''

I remember in Mr. Warnock's ninth-grade Geometry class, how often when I would make a clarifying observation, there would be a commotion and a feverish scrawling, and with some ceremony a condisciple would soon present me with an ``Al Kriman Award.'' Judy was one of the more frequent presenters. She went on to be a TV news producer. I believe the award was in recognition of my obscurity, but neither I nor anyone else can recall any of my award-winning words. Eventually, someone who was also taking Print Shop printed up a tear-off stack of Al Kriman Awards with blue sans-serif lettering. It was a somewhat unruly class. Mr. Warnock used to plead wearily (not to me in particular, I think) ``you don't have to listen, but PLEASE SHUT UP!'' I don't think I ever gave a very long acceptance speech. I always thought it was peculiar to receive an honor named after oneself, but according to the program for AAPD's 2004 Leadership Gala, ``AAPD will also present the first-ever Linda Chavez-Thompson Award to Linda Chavez-Thompson, in recognition of her longstanding leadership towards inclusion of people with disabilities and their families within the labor movement.''

Asian Academy of Preventive Dentistry.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists. See also the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Abstracts (of papers delivered at the annual meeting of the) American PHilological Association. The APA photocopies and sells them at the meeting. Surprisingly, these informal publications are indexed by APh. Or maybe not so surprisingly, as the abstracts are refereed to select speakers.

American Association of Public Health Veterinarians. Some years ago, the AAPHV had a page hosted by the AVMA. Today (early 2009), its page is hosted by the ACVPM. It looks just a wee bit inactive, to judge from web presence.

Association d'Aide aux Personnes Incontinentes. I don't think I'm going to translate this. I mean -- I could do, I want to, I'm aching to, but I can hold it in.

Audio Applications Programming Interface.

American Academy of Pain Management. I don't know what you do, but sometimes when I try to walk on a strained tendon, I like to chew on my shoulder.

American Academy of Pain Medicine.

American Association of Physicists in Medicine. ``Adheres'' to the IOMP. That sounds vaguely unsanitary; I guess a word was wanted that wouldn't imply that AAPM was somehow subordinate to, subsumed under, or in any other way sub to the IOMP. I guess ``affiliated'' was tainted by its etymology (Latin filius, -i, masc., meaning `son'). Still, the IOMP doesn't claim to be an adhering organization of the AAPM. Would ``associated'' have implied too much independence?

In the context of associations, the word adhere is often used in the sense of conform to a rule or convention.


American Association for Public Opinion Research.

AAP Pleonasm.

Association for the Advancement of Philosophy & Psychiatry. It ``was established in 1989 to promote cross-disciplinary research in the philosophical aspects of psychiatry and to support educational initiatives and graduate training programs.'' (The URL looks impermanent. You may have to do a search.) ``Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology (PPP) is the official journal of the organization, published in conjunction with the Royal College of Psychiatrists Philosophy Group by The Johns Hopkins University Press.'' You know, stuttering is listed among p-p-p-psychological and behavioral disorders in ICD-10 (the code is F98.5). Let's think deeppp thoughts about this.

a.-a.p. pleonasm
Abbreviation-Assisted Pleonasm pleonasm. Plural form: a.-a.p.p. pleonasms. Implicitly refers to abbreviations that are not also acronyms or initialisms that have honorary acronym status. Pretty rare, compared to the AAP pleonasm, and even in absolute terms. So far, in fact, we've only noticed ``UK and Northern Ireland'' (``short'' for ``the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland''). If we notice another, we'll start introducing ugly and stupid variant plural forms like ``a.a.-a.a.p.p. pleonasmses.'' Don't tell me that would be ugly, stupid, or redundant, redundantly so or not.

AAP pleonasm
Acronym-Assisted Pleonasm PLEONASM.
    Here are some of the most popular, according to the latest updated rankings of an authoritative local study group:
  1. PIN number.
  2. VIN number.
  3. UPC code.
  4. HIV virus.
  5. ATM machine.
  6. MIDI interface.
  7. GUI Interface.
  8. Cisco Ccie.
  9. ABS System.
  10. or OBO.
  11. ABS Braking System. (What is it? A sense of déjà vu? You think this entry is...redundant?)
  12. CableACE Awards.
  13. PILOT payment.
  14. Saab AB.
  15. VCH Verlag; Wiley-VCH Verlag.
  16. MOSFET transistor.
  17. HRL Laboratories (or Labs).
  18. ECL logic.
  19. FET transistor.
  20. HARM missile.
  21. BTU unit[s]
  22. IUPUI (strictly speaking, this is an acronym with built-in pleonasm).
  23. BJT transistor. Has lost a lot of ground to MOSFET's, even to JFET's.
  24. For FPO.
  25. RTL level.
  26. FRED diode.
  27. TTP program.
  28. Software ISV.
  29. OT Topic.
  30. YELT Test.
  31. MECL logic. Very obsolete technology.

Deserving of special recogition is the extravagantly redundant BUILT Informationstechnologie AG.

First-runner-up: LIRA-Lab, apparently also an official pleonasm.

Honorable Mention: ``The NAVE Virtual Environment'' An AAP pleonasm constructed from a XARA.

Repeated, reckless use of AAP pleonasms is PNS Syndrome. If acronym AAP pleonasm is a problem, then perhaps sometimes XARA's are the solution. Indeed, if ``Acronym-assisted AAP Pleonasm'' were the expansion of AAP (it isn't, I think), then AAP itself would be a XARA. Look, just follow the link, already!

What, still here? Feeling sympathetically contrarian? See the false pleonasm entry.

American Academy of Private Practice in Speech Pathology and Audiology. I'd like to say something about the name of this organization, but I just can't seem to get the words out of my mouth.

American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. Looks like a third declension. I guess aapem would be the accusative singular form. Sounds pretty aggressive, too.

American Association of Physician Specialists.

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. ``A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943.'' Oh cool -- they have a motto in, uh, looks like Greek to me: ``Omnia pro aegroto.''

American Association of Philosophy Teachers. Hmmm. Let's think about that.

American Association of Physics Teachers. Based in College Park, Maryland, at the famous address One Physics Ellipse.

Airport { Acceptance | Arrival } Rate. The amount of incoming traffic an airport is deemed capable of accepting. Normally stated as number of arrivals per hour.


American Academy in Rome.

American Academy of Religion, founded 1957. A constituent society of the ACLS since 1979. ACLS has an overview.

Begun as the Association of Biblical Instructors in American Colleges and Secondary Schools, it changed name in December 1922 to National Association of Biblical Instructors (NABI). The name was favored in part because nabi is Hebrew for `prophet.' Personally, I would distinguish between a biblical instructor like Samuel or Isaiah, say, and a Bible instructor like Ismar J. Peritz of Syracuse University, who conceived the idea of the modern organization in 1909. The current name was adopted in 1964.

AAR is closely associated with the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL).

Association of (North) American Railroads.

Association of Authors' Representatives. A nonprofit ``organization of independent literary and dramatic agents.'' Among the requirements to join is two years in the business of being an agent.

The central reality to be understood here is that there is a large pool of frustrated wannabe-published hacks. Note the hyphen: they are hacks, what they want to be is published. Perhaps they've already had their manuscripts rejected by a few or a few dozen publishers. The cream of the crud may have had a few helpful criticisms in reply, but usually the assistant editor charged with processing the slush pile has read and discarded it on the basis of one or two paragraphs, and isn't going to bother attempting to educate the hopelessly ineducable. Many ``unpublished authors'' get the idea, or are mischievously given it, that their problem started at the transom, whereas really it started at the keyboard. Specifically, PEBCAK.

The comforting idea is that you need an ``in'' with the publishers -- a clubby, exclusive bunch consistent with your fantasies of the glamour of the publishing universe. The agent is your ``in.'' This delusion creates an opportunity for scam artists, who promise eventual publication and charge fees that are ultimately their main source of income. Reading fees, evaluation fees, marketing fees, office expenses, travel expenses, submission fees, shmooze-with-editors-at-expensive-French-restaurant expenses, etc. The SFWA has a nice long informative page on not getting stiffed. Damn! I wish I'd read that first! The AAR and similar organizations play a useful self-policing role for the agenting industry, by establishing codes of conduct which assure that their members, at least, are dealing honestly.

The AAR's code of ethics is called ``the Canon of Ethics.'' Similar organizations are the AAA in the UK (with a ``Code of Practice''), NZALA in New Zealand (``Code of Behaviour''), and AALA in Australia (just starting up as of this writing: founded in 2002; ``Code of Practice'' still in draft form). Canadian literary agents listed (not necessarily recommended) by TWUC do not list any AAR- or AAA-like memberships, and I'm not aware that the relevant laws in Canada are considerably stronger than in other English-speaking countries.

I know one fellow who submitted his novel (directly -- without an agent) to only a dozen or a score of publishers and actually got a nibble. The house sent the novel to two, then two more, and finally another two outside readers for review. (Maybe it was just the first chapter; I forget.) The first four, and one of the last two, liked it. Once they got a don't-like-it from a reader, they rejected it. The author never received any specific comments on the work. This all doesn't strike me as the most efficient way to do business, but maybe they're just a front or something. I guess you need an agent. (For an alternative approach, read this AAF entry.)

Automatic Alternative (communication) Routing.

Air-Air Refueling Area.

Alcohol and Addictions Resource Center. From the name, you'd guess it was a city park. But I guess they don't mean that kind of resource. AARC is based in South Bend and, um, serves Michiana.

AARHMS, aarhms
The American Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spam. I didn't even know there was Spam in the middle ages. Oh wait -- that's the ``American Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spain.'' Sorry, my error.

Aarhms maintains a site called LIBRO.

Alberta Association of Registered Nurses.

Association for Australian Rural Nurses.

American Association of Retired Persons. You are welcome to join at age 50. Some pronounce AARP like Cockney `harp.'

In the movie Absolute Power (1997), Clint Eastwood, in the role of an aging thief (Luther Whitney), says

Go down a rope in the middle of the night? If I could do that, I'd be the star of my AARP meetings.

Generations hence, multimedia audiences will marvel at the many-layered subtlety of today's golden age of film dialogue. Cf. VCR entry.

It turns out that AARP no longer stands for ``American Association of Retired Persons.'' It's just a name now, it doesn't stand for anything, okay? It's what we call a sealed acronym.

In January 2005, accepting his New York Film Critics award for Best Director (for ``Million Dollar Baby'') Eastwood commented that ``Outside of the AARP sticker on my trailer, I'm no different than any other director.'' He needs to retire his gag writer.

Appletalk Address Resolution Protocol (ARP).

African Academy of Sciences.

American Antiquarian Society. More than a century passed between their foundation (1812) and their becoming a constituent society of the ACLS (1919). Impressive that they're always ``in character.'' (Similarly, their internet site was one of the last sites serving gopher protocol.)

ACLS has an overview, according to which their principal activity is ``[m]aintenance of a national research library [ (hours) (directions by horseless buggy) ] focusing on all aspects of American history and culture through 1876.''

AAS says it ``specializes in the American period to 1877, and holds two-thirds of the total pieces known to have been printed in this country between 1640 and 1821, as well as the most useful source materials and reference works printed since that period. Its files of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American newspapers, numbering two million issues, are the finest anywhere.''

Also: ``AAS is the third oldest historical society in this country and the first to be national rather than regional in its purpose and in the scope of its collections.''

American Association of Suicidology. At least when they bury this tragic neologism, it won't be in the churchyard.

American Astronomical Society.

American Astronautical Society. Something else again. They're concerned with putting intelligent life in nearby outer space, whether or not there's any out there already.

American Auditory Society. ``The American Audiology Society was formed in October, 1974. In June, 1978, after a vote by the members of the Society, the name was changed to the American Auditory Society.'' (Did they vote in favor of it?)

Angle-Angle-Side. (If triangles have two corresponding angles and one corresponding side equal in measure, then the two triangles are congruent.) Also ASA, and given the number of geometry books that have been written, probably SAA as well. Cf. SAS and SSS.

Association for Asian Studies, founded 1941, as publisher of the Far Eastern Quarterly (now the Journal of Asian Studies). Talk about getting in on the ground floor -- 1941 was the year that the Japanese Empire went to war against the United States. A constituent society of the ACLS since 1954. ACLS has an overview.

Atomic Absorption Spectro{ scopy | photomet{er|try} }. Often just `AA.'

Here's some instructional material from Virginia Tech (VT).

Australian Academy of Science.

AAs, AA's
Author's AlterationS. In principle, and even occasionally in practice, there may be just a singular alteration, but the difference between AAs and AA is one of grammatical number: AA tends to be construed singular.

Acrylonitrile/Acrylic elastomer/Styrene terpolymer. (Read ``acrylic elastomer'' as a single term, or just ignore ``elastomer.'') AAS resin was developed to improve the weatherability of ABS resin (butadiene elastomer).
American Association of School Administrators. Meets annually at the National Conference on Education held each February.

American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

American Association for the Study of Headache. But not tonight. Or ever again -- they changed the name to American Headache Society (AHS).

American Association of State Highway Officials. Founded on December 12, 1914, it inserted ``and Transportation'' (to become AASHTO) in November 13, 1973.

American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials. See also AASHO.

American Association of School Librarians. A division of the ALA.

American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

Related entries: ADHF, ALF.

American Association for State and Local History. Boy, did I ever have this entry garbled. Among the organization's publications is a quarterly magazine called History News and a monthly newsletter with job listings, called Dispatch. It's an affiliated society of the AHA.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. I think this must have had a name like ``American Sleep Disorders Association''; its domain is <asda.org>.


Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research. This is the signature series of ASOR, a book series that began in 1919 (first volume appear 1920). Despite the name, publication has not always been very precisely periodical, although volumes did come out annually from 1992 to 2000 (AASOR 50-57); AASOR 60 has copyright year 2005.

ASOR has two other book series as well as various periodicals: a bulletin (BASOR), Near Eastern Archaeology (NEA), and the ASOR Newsletter (all quarterlies) as well as an annual Journal of Cuneiform Studies (JCS).

AASOR's editorial offices were originally (I believe) in New Haven, Conn., and later (through the 1970's) in Cambridge, Mass. From the 1980's through 1992, the series was published by Eisenbrauns. (This is a small academic press based in Winona Lake, Indiana. Founded by Jim Eisenbraun in 1975, it specializes in ancient Near Eastern studies, archaeology, Assyriology, and biblical studies.) From 1993 the series was with Scholars Press in Atlanta, Georgia (i.e., at Emory University, mentioned at this S.P.D. entry). We all know what happened to Scholars Press at the end of 1999, but since 1998 AASOR has been based at Boston University and published by David Brown Book Co.

AAS oscillations
Al'tshuler, Aronov, Spivak OSCILLATIONS. Oscillations in transport properties that are periodic in one-half of a flux quantum: Øo/2 = h/2e , observed in low-temperature transport in both metals and semiconductors, where conduction can take alternative paths that enclose magnetic flux.

Theoretical explanation in terms of weak localization is associated with alternating destructive and constructive interference of time-reversed scattering paths of individual diffusing electrons. (The paths are only approximately time-reversed, because magnetic field breaks the invariance. This becomes an issue at larger fields.)

Theoretical paper: B. L. Al'tshuler, A. G. Aronov, and B. Z. Spivak, Pis'ma Zh. Eksp. Teor. Fiz. 33, 101 (1981) [JETP Lett. 33, 94 (1981)].

Experimental paper: D. Yu. Sharvin and Yu. V. Sharvin, Pis'ma Zh. Eksp. Teor. Fiz. 34, 285 (1981) [JETP Lett. 34, 272 (1981)].

American Association for Single People. Also called ``Unmarried America.'' Or possibly not: ``Unmarried America is the membership division of Spectrum Institute (also known as the American Association for Single People).''

``Unmarried America engages in education and advocacy for America's 86 million unmarried adults. Our group includes people who are ever-single, divorced, or widowed, and who have a variety of living arrangements (solo singles, single parents, domestic partners, roommates, and unmarried families). We are seeking fairness for unmarried employees, consumers, and taxpayers as well as more recognition of unmarried voters.''

I guess ``ever-single'' is a euphemism to protect the feelings of people who have never ever been married. This is so silly it defeats any effort at parody.

A June 2004 Wall Street Journal article by Jeffrey Zaslow (no, I don't know if he's available) began thus:

When Thomas Coleman visits legislators in Washington, D.C., to lobby for the rights of unmarried Americans, he isn't always taken seriously. People learn the name of his organization -- the American Association for Single People - ``and they immediately snicker,'' he says. ``They'll ask, `What's a dating service doing here in the Capitol?' ''

The article explains that the ``association ... also goes by Unmarried America to avoid the singles-club stigma....'' Everybody's a linguist these days.

American Association of Swine Practitioners. What a concept in emotional counseling!

Oh -- a veterinarians' group. And they gave up this cool name to become the AASV? Keep the faith, AABP!

ASCII Asynchronous Support Package.

Asia-Africa Sub-Regional Organization Conference. A meeting of a couple of dozen states in July 2003. The meeting was opened by Indonesian president Megawati Soekarnoputri (see see this MW entry), who had proposed the meeting in 2002. The meeting generated a number of documents about intercontinental cooperation in a spirit of mutual respect and blah blah, but an even more substantive achievement was preparation for a meeting in 2005, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the 1955 Asia-Africa Conference (AAC). The earlier conference was presided over by President Sukarno, Megawati's father. The 1955 meeting, like the 2003 meeting, was held in the West Java capital of Bandung, but many things have changed in the intervening 48 years. For starters, the conference name has doubled in size. If it gets any longer it will be too unwieldy to be practical. They should consider splitting the conference into separate African and Asian meetings. (The national capital, Jakarta, is also in West Java, about 100 miles NW of Bandung.)

American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners. Could this mean... llamas!!?

Affiliated somehow with the AVMA.

What about sheep?

Asia Aero Supply Services.

American Association of State Social Work Boards. Now the ASWB.

American Association of Swine Veterinarians. Cf. AASP.

Acetic Acid Test. See VIA.

An American Translation, published in 1976. Why read a translation when you can read the original in Early Modern English?

Anglo-Australian Telescope. See AAO entry.

Animal-Assisted Therapy. The animal is not a leech. Cf. AAA.

Art and Architecture Thesaurus. An on-line service of the Getty Institute. A multi-level-hierarchical thesaurus with cross references and even a bit of useful information.

(UK) Association of Accounting Technicians.

Average Access Time.

Advanced (abbreviated A!) Authoring Tools.

The American Association of Teachers of Arabic. AATA ``aims to facilitate communication and cooperation [among] teachers of Arabic and to promote study, criticism, research and instruction in the field of Arabic language pedagogy, Arabic linguistics and Arabic literature.''

Ann Arbor (MI) Transit Agency. Buses.

Art & Archaeology Technical Abstracts. AATA, published on mutilated tree corpses from 1966 to 2000, is continued by AATA Online: Abstracts of International Conservation Literature.

Advanced Automatic Train Control.

American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists.

American Association of Teachers of French. This glossary has occasionally useful entries for France and for the French langue.

American Association of Teachers of German. Serving teachers of German since 1926.

Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor. It used to be called the American Association for Therapeutic Humor. I salute them for modifying the name without using a different punch line, I mean acronym.

Of course, the old claim goes that it takes twenty-five more muscles to frown than to smile, or something like that. So if it's strong face muscles you want, a real facial work-out, ill-humor is the face-healthy way to go. Grimace and snarl your way to strong, sexy lips!

Snopes has a page for this proverb, and includes a compilation of the putative respective numbers of muscles. Here are just the numbers (update of 2004.04.08):

muscle cnt.:     ratio
smile  frown
  17     41      2.4117647058823529
  17     43      2.5294117647058823
  13     33      2.538461
  13     50      3.846153
  15     65      4.3

   4     35      8.75

  10    100     10

  20    317     15.85

   4     64     16

   1     37     37

What we can see from this is that when both muscle counts are composite numbers, they almost always have a common factor.

American Association of Teachers of Italian.

Alliance of Association of Teachers of Japanese. ``The Alliance offers training and professional development to Japanese language teachers in a variety of forms: by sponsoring workshops and summer institutes, by awarding individual small grants, and by sponsoring publications and materials.'' Apparently the AATJ is part of the ATJ.

Asociación Argentina de Tecnología Nuclear.

I can't seem to find a homepage for the organization (contact information on this page served by the Asociación Física Argentina, for AFA's nuclear and other divisions). I hope I can make it up to you with all necessary information. I'll just touch on the highlights. As they seem to me. The initially popular nationalist dictator Juan Perón was a great one for colorfully exaggerated turns of phrase. He famously boasted that Argentina would develop nuclear power and would sell it in 1 and 1.5-liter bottles (``en botellas de litro y litro y medio''). Mark this well: specificity adds bite. For other examples, also in the fiction genre, read Dickens. During the dictatorship, my father (Ing. Oscar Kriman) gave a public lecture on peaceful use of nuclear energy, as they used to say, and a government agent attended the lecture to make sure he said nothing that put Perón in a poor light.

People who know nothing of Argentine politics besides the Evita soundtrack wonder how anyone could fail to be charmed by a whore-turned-philanthropic-shakedown-artist and her fascist husband. It is hard to understand if you insist on remaining utterly ignorant, I guess. Oh wait: the prostitution charges, as well as any sense of historical reality, are denied on this worshipful webpage at the Eva Perón Foundation.

Now where was I? Oh yeah, well, Gabriel (another physicist of Argentine origin, like me) told me in 1980 that before the dirty war, Argentina had had more physicists per capita than any other country on earth. I haven't had a chance in the last quarter century to check that, but it seems credible. The dirty war began as the government of Isabelita Perón (J.D. Perón's third wife and vice president, then widow and president) was coming apart in the mid-1970's. The homepage of the AFA has a link to a list of 24 disappeared physicists, but many more left before they could be disappeared.

American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages.

American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.

Animal-Assisted-Therapy Team[s].

Amateur Athletic Union. You know, millions of unfortunate children across this great country are forced to focus on schoolwork during their school years -- educational stuff, books and pencils and all that. How is that ever going to improve their ability to flip a hamburger, eh? Each and every one of these children is missing the chance of a lifetime.

Association of African Universities. Association des Universités Africaines (l'AUA).

``The Association of African Universities is an international non-governmental organisation set up by the universities in Africa to promote cooperation among themselves and between them and the international Academic community. ...formed in November 1967 at a founding conference in Rabat, Morocco, attended by representatives of 34 universities who adopted the constitution of the Association. This followed earlier consultations among executive heads of African universities at a UNESCO conference on higher education in Africa in Antananarivo, Madagascar, in 1962 and at a conference of heads of African universities in 1963 in Khartoum, Sudan.''

Leave this site and read the Constitution and Bye Laws!

Association of American Universities. An association of sixty-one ``leading research universities'' in the US and Canada, as of April 2001.

``Founded in 1900 to advance the international standing of US universities... today focuses on issues that are important to research-intensive universities, such as funding for research, research policy issues, and graduate and undergraduate education.''

Association of Arab-American University Graduates.

Association of American University Presses. You can visit their Combined Online Catalog/Bookstore.

American Association of University Professors.

American Association of University Supervisors and Coordinators.

American Association of University Women. Founded in 1881 to protect and promote the opportunity for women to attend university. Has recently taken up more hip causes. Holds its biennial national convention in June of odd-numbered years.

See more at the YWLS.

AdenoAssociated Virus[es].

Alternate Access Vendors.

Association of Avian Veterinarians.

The American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture. The only way I could have made this up myself is by playing Mad Libs.

American Association of Veterinary Anatomists.

American Association of Veterinary Clinicians. ``The mission of the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians is to enhance the quality of and be an advocate for veterinary clinical teaching, service, and research.'' Personally, I'm just gratified at their proficient construction of a tandem parallel structure, complete with different prepositions with a common object. They can put down my dog any day.

African American Vernacular English. What used to be called BEV.

American Association of Veterinary Immunologists.

American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.

Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

American Academy of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

American Anti-Vivisection Society.

American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

American Association of Variable Star Observers. The stars are variable, not necessarily the observers.


Auctores Varii. Latin: `Various authors.' Not the sort of abbreviation you'd be likely to encounter the singular form (A.V.) of. VV.AA. in Spanish.

Advertising Association of Winnipeg, Inc. Huh! And here I was thinking it was Winnipeg, Ont.

Hmmm. I seem to remember Winnipeg is a pretty big city. Why can't I find it on the map? There it is! What's it doing as the capital of Manitoba? This has been a very confusing day.

American Association for Women Radiologists. Founded in 1981 ``to provide a forum for issues unique to women in radiology, radiation oncology and related professions; sponsor programs that promote opportunities for women; and facilitate networking among members and other professionals.'' Strangely, its official journal is the JWI, which has little to do with the stated purposes of the AAWR. I guess it's a marriage of convenience (this sort of thing is allowed in Massachusetts). The journal started publication in 1999, and the association between AAWR and JWI only dates back to 2003.

American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians.

The Asian American Writers' Workshop.

Until I hear different, I'm going to assume this is an Asian Workshop for people who write in the or an (which one isn't clear) American language.

American Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Apparently never precisely the official name of the organization now known as the AZA. (Then again, perhaps AAZA was someone's abbreviation of American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums; that was the AZA's original name, but AAZPA was the preferred acronym.)

American Association for Zoological Nomenclature.

American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums. Original name of organization now known as the AZA.

American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria. See AZA.

American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

Just AB. Not an abbreviation or acronym or anything -- just A ... B. Pronounced ``Ay-Bee,'' but spelled more efficiently with only two letters. This is a personal name, distinct from, having no etymological relation to, and pronounced differently than, Ab.

The given name, or perhaps rather the taken name, of a buddy of mine in college. At birth he was given a couple of more conventional names, but he came to be called `AB,' much as John Robert's come to be called `JR.' He had his name legally changed to `AB,' the beginning of no end of trouble. Every organization with its Procrustean form wanted to break his name apart and distribute the pieces to `First' and `M.I.' It was inevitable that he would become a philosopher.

His last name begins with C.

ABdominal muscle. Usually plural -- abs. One of the first things you should do when you lose your mind and decide to become a black belt in Scrabble® is to memorize all the two-letter words. This one and its plural are in all three major Scrabble dictionaries.

Able-Bodied (seaman).

ABsolute. An obsolete (absolete? obsolute?) prefix in old cgs unit systems. This goes back to a time when there were two kinds of standards that defined metric units -- ``absolute'' and ``international.'' Absolute units were defined according to a gold standard that was not very convenient (and which was kept in a single location -- Paris, I guess it must have been). The ``international'' value definitions corresponding to portable standards. In other words, absolute units were the fundamental definitions, or as fundamental as were in use at the time. International units were practical. The prefixes abs- and int- were applied to the unit names (as in ``abvolts'' and ``intvolts'') to indicate, if appropriate, which standards had been used.

Units in some cgs systems used another non-numerical prefix, stat-, contrastively with ab-. This had to do with two parallel systems of units for electromagnetism: the electrostatic cgs units and the electromagnetic cgs units. Interconversions among these systems are rather subtle, because they refer to units in systems with different underlying equations. (Distances, masses, and times are rather directly comparable, and their evaluation does not involve inference from an equation. Similarly acceleration, which has a natural definition not involving any proportionality constant. As soon as one gets into forces and charges, however, one has to use equations, and there are a number of different, equally ``natural'' ways to fit together the Maxwell's equations and the Lorentz force law.

The cgs system allowed two different sets of equations, one more convenient for electrostatics and one more so for electromagnetics. Parallel sets of units, esu and emu, respectively, were devised for the two parallel systems of equations. When a base term like volt or ampere was used in both systems, a prefix (stat- for esu, ab- for emu) was used to disambiguate.

Neither system defined a fundamental unit of charge. That is, the statcoulomb (also called the franklin) and the abcoulomb were expressible in (mostly half-integer) powers of centimeter, gram, and second. (A statcoulomb or abcoulomb was also called an esu or emu. Unfortunately, esu can also stand for statvolt, statampere, stattesla, etc. Likewise emu with abvolt, abampere, weber, etc.) The consequences persist to this day, as many of the cgs units, particularly the cgs emu ones (notice the hidden false pleonasm!), persist in use in various fields.

The MKSA system of units for electromagnetism, which extends the MKS system, is based on a single set of equations. Those equations are rationalized (i.e., they have a lot of explicit factors of 4π), which makes them rather clunky for theoretical work. If I'm not mistaken, the fellow who proposed the MKSA system beat out Enrico Fermi for a faculty position in one of those rather fixed competitions they regularly have in Italian academia. I'll try to look into it, but if you can't wait, you can probably find the guy's name and some other details in Laura Fermi's Atoms in the Family.

Adreßbuch. A German word.

AirBorne. There are many instances where this expansion can be ruled out on heuristic grounds.

Air Bridge. An electronic connection between devices on the same semiconductor chip, that is made by a connector that rises above the rest of the solid surface. Another way to put it is that the metal is a topological handle of the chip. The typical way it's made, however, is to deposit metal across a raised pattern of polymer material. That polymer is then etched away, leaving an air gap (or, in slightly exotic situations, a vacuum or gas gap) between part of the interconnect and the rest of the chip.

Here's a picture of one fabricated at Notre Dame's Microelectronics Lab.

Air bridges are usually not necessary and typically inconvenient. The reason is that integrated circuits are kind of like printed circuit boards with many interconnected layers of printed circuitry, so there are many ways to connect any pair of nodes. (In honest-to-god printed circuits with copper cladding patterned on only one side of a fiberglass board, the restriction of interconnects to a single plane complicates things. To complete the circuits one typically has to take advantage of the space underneath discrete components soldered on top of the board, and in extreme situations one has to create such discrete components in the form of zero-ohm resistors.)

Microelectronic circuits are created by processes of patterning and deposition that leave almost all elements of any circuit in physical contact with neighboring elements. This is true not only of active elements (mostly transistors) and passive elements (capacitors being the most common now that Si MOSFET's dominate, even if you count as resistors the transistors connected up to function as such), but also of interconnects between different components of the same chip.

AB, A.B.
Aktiebolag[et]. Swedish, `[the] stock company.' Cf. German equivalent AG.

AlBite. This is the name of a common chemical compound, (sodium aluminosilicate: NaAlSi3O8) and a range of minerals high in albite chemical composition. The minerals are a part of the feldspar family. Specifically, solid solutions of albite and anorthite (calcium aluminosilicate, abbreviated An) are called plagioclase feldspar. Mineralogists refer to the ``plagioclase feldspar series,'' but it is not a discrete series or sequence as the mathematical sense of ``series'' suggests; albite and anorthite are completely miscible, and ``plagioclase feldspar'' designates solutions of the two in any proportion. The mineral albite is plagioclase feldspar with no more than 10% anorthite.

Postal abbreviation for the Canadian (.ca) province of Alberta. Capital: Edmonton.

Amplified Bible. It's the good ol' Good Book, alright, but it's LOUDER.

Okay, here's another interpretation: it's a translation of the American Standard Version into English, with clarifying commentary. It contains so many hints that if you're not careful, you might be led into a tendentious reading. To avoid this danger, just look at the words without actually reading them. (That's what most people do.)

Actually, the AB turns out to be useful. I discovered this while skimming Where To Find It in the Bible, compiled by Ken Anderson and published in Nashville. The cover promises ``Hundreds of Contemporary Topics.'' Contemporaneity is achieved in part by sampling eleven different translations. Some of the contemporaneity turns out to shine out from only a few or even just one version. [I was talking with a French colleague once whose English was quite good, but who at that moment couldn't recall the English for savoir faire. After I told him, he made sure to say ``know-how'' about a dozen times in the next couple of minutes. I guess that's how you get to learn a foreign language well, or to spell contemporaneity.]

For example, guitars are only mentioned in AB (specifically heaven's guitars, mentioned in Revelations 5:8). This is one of the illustrated entries. (Yes -- it's amplified and illuminated. Thou wanteth not for any more contemporaneity than that.) Apparently heaven's guitars are electric bass guitars -- they're AMPLIFIED. Here's the AB text of chapter 5, verse 8:

And when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders [ftnt.: of the heavenly Sanhedrin] prostrated themselves before the Lamb. Each was holding a harp (lute or guitar), and they had golden bowls full of incense (fragrant spices and gums for burning), which are the prayers of God's people (the saints).

AB, A.B.
Arts Baccalaureate. Or the original Latin Artium Baccalaureus. Alternate name for BA.

At Bat[s]. Baseball term. Originally called a ``hand.'' (See the striKe entry for related information.)

The slugging percentage is the average number of bases reached from home per AB. Excluded in the count are walks (base-on-balls or hit-by-pitch), sacrifices, and interference.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Acrylate.

American Bankers Association.

American Bar Association. The professional society for American lawyers. Remember, if you can't say anything nice -- then at least don't say anything litigable.

American Basketball Association. Did a fast break. A challenge, from 1967 to 1976, to the NBA's near-monopoly on professional basketball entertainment in the US. In the end, the four strongest teams joined the NBA, the better players were hired into the NBA, and the rest of the ABA folded.

American Basketball Association. It's another challenge to the NBA, this one founded in 1999. It also uses a red, white, and blue ball, and it also has miserable ratings, if it has ratings at all. I suppose it might be a handy way to make a tax loss, so the one thing that might make the ABA a going proposition would be higher and more progressive marginal tax rates. One novelty I am aware of is that the new ABA has teams outside of English-speaking North America: Beijing, Tijuana, and Montreal. Okay, I've been in Montreal, and they speak English there too, but you have to say hello in French first or you'll be arrested.

American Booksellers Association. Excellent, informative site. Another good place to look for related information is Bookwire (TM), from Bowker Book Information Co.

Isaac Asimov wrote a mystery called Murder at the ABA. This ABA.

The ABA and AAP sponsor BookExpo America (BEA) in Chicago, Wednesday through Sunday following Memorial Day. It used to be called the American Booksellers Association Convention & Trade Exhibit.

American Bridge Association. Contract Bridge, you know? The card game, not the civil engineering project.

There's a separate organization called the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL). In the bad old days, ABA was for blacks and ACBL was for whites. Both still exist as independent leagues.

Asociación de Bancos de Argentina. `Association of Banks of Argentina.' Since 1998; details at ADEBA. If this ABA and the preceding one got together, the next ABA might be the result.

Asociación del Bridge Argentino. `Association of Argentine Bridge.'

In case you're wondering -- and doubtless you are -- the standard noun-before-adjective order of Spanish would allow the name to be interpreted as `Argentine Association of Bridge.' However, gender agreement with asociación (feminine) would require the adjective to be argentina for this interpretation. So the name really implies that the bridge (card game) is Argentine rather than the association. It's a distinction without much difference, however. A construction like ``bridge argentino'' is understood as `bridge in Argentina' if there doesn't happen to be a particular Argentine game of bridge.

Association for Behavior Analysis.

Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America. A national association within the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers / La Ligue Internationale de la Librairie Ancienne (LILA/ILAB).

Anglo-British Academy of Advance Studies. For a fraction of a moment, you might be willing to suppose they mean British in the ``Brythonic'' sense common before the union of England and Wales with Scotland. Then you notice that they're not actually concerned with the Study of Advance. ``ABBAS is aware of the need for development & knowledge, as knowledge is power, and power is wealth.'' I'd like to see them develop this idea further, with conversion factors.

A bas le costume. Lemme see -- I guess that means `underwear'! Ooh, close: it means `down with the suit.' I like my translation better. The contraction was used in Zaire as the name for a faux-traditional dress of tunic and pants whose design was credited to the dictator Mobutu, and which was loosely inspired by the ``Mao [Zedong] suit.'' The tunic was designed to be worn with a foulard at the neck. The abacost was required business wear in Zaire, part of Mobutu's campaign for African ``authenticity'' (later simply called Mobutuism). More on that in the material we have on Mobutu Sese Seko's name.

In Woody Allen's 1971 movie ``Bananas,'' the new dictator of the banana republic decrees, as power almost visibly goes to his head, that underwear shall be changed frequently, and that in order to facilitate enforcement of the decree, underwear shall be worn on the outside. Mobutu's authenticity campaign began in 1971. If I track down the details, I may be able to say whether life imitated art or vice versa in this case. More on ``Bananas'' at the Abe entry below.

I guess that, just as the abacost was meant to be accessorized by a foulard, the Mao suit or Mao jacket was meant to be accessorized by a Mao cap. In 1980, my friend Fu was going home to Shanghai for some weeks and asked if there was anything I'd like him to bring back, so I asked for a Mao cap. I was already too late. On return he reported that they were already impossible to find in the city, though he figured they might still be available in the countryside.

Well, here it is August 2005, even Sendero Luminoso seems to have gone dark, yet there's still a place that's safe for Maoists. That's right: California. See the MIM entry.


This is a serious glossary! How could we have an entry for abacost and not for abacus?

The mental image that most people have of an abacus is of the East Asian abacus: a rectangular frame that can be stood vertically, supporting two parallel ladders of horizontal bars with beads. (In Japanese: soroban; from Mandarin: suàn pán, meaning roughly `calculation board.') The traditional Western (or at least the ancient Greek and Roman) abacus was simply a small sandbox with pebbles. In Latin, a pebble, or small stone, is a calculus. Over time, the word took the sense of `means [or system] of computation,' or just calculation in general. In some cases, the calculation might be somewhat metaphorical -- e.g. ``moral calculus'' referring to the set of competing considerations, and the reasoning about them, used to make an ethical decision.

In the seventeenth century, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz first developed mathematical techniques based on infinitesimals. (They developed these independently and more or less simultaneously, and there was a bitter controversy over priority. As the contents of the Archimedes palimpsest originally discovered by Heiberg are teased out, we may see to what extent this contest is made moot.) Parts of the mathematical field that developed from that 17c. work came to be called the differential and the integral calculus. (Beyond the elementary calculations, it can become difficult to keep the two separate; e.g., integrating a nontrivial differential equation. Indeed, the fundamental theorem of calculus states essentially that the derivative of the indefinite integral of a function is the function itself, so the connection is quite fundamental.) Today the word calculus, not further modified, refers to elementary manipulations of differential and integral calculus. The word also continues to be used to help name some other mathematical subdisciplines, such as ``calculus of finite differences.''

On page 73 of the autobiography mentioned at the 86 entry, Stan Ulam relates a conversation he had with John von Neumann in 1936. Stan was disappointed with the isolationary specialization he found among mathematicians at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS).

Being a malicious young man, I told Johnny that this reminded me of the division of rackets among Chicago gangsters. The ``topology racket'' was probably worth five million dollars; the ``calculus of variations racket,'' another five. Johnny laughed and added, ``No! That is worth only one million.''

(BTW, that was a very sound correction, in relative terms, from a mathematician's perspective.)

In at least one case, the word calculus is used to give a name to a hodge-podge of tools and concepts: a fairly standard third-year college course for math majors is ``Advanced Calculus.'' This typically covers point-set topology on the real line, convergence of series, introduction to measure theory, etc. The graduate-level course that more or less covers a superset of this material is typically ``Analysis'' or ``Real Analysis'' (although the set of real numbers is really only one especially interesting special case). Analysis is another one of those words that could in principle mean so much that it might mean nothing at all if conventional usage were less parsimonious.

B. L. van der Waerden's obituary for Emmy Noether appeared in the German journal Mathematische Annalen [``Nachruf auf Emmy Noether,'' in vol. 111 (1935) pp. 469-476]. He mentions a number of awards that her work won, and a lot of them explicitly mentioned Arithmetik. In this context, of course, `arithmetic' referred to real-number (and general metric space) analysis.

Oh, bummer! I just realized that I have already written an entry for calculus! Well, follow the link -- there isn't too much overlap, and there's more on the abacus.

Commercial software no longer sold, treated as free (but not freeware, q.v.). Term seems most prevalent in games programs.

ab asino lanam
Latin: `wool from an ass.' (That's a quadruped ass, not an arse.) Hen's teeth.

American Bikers Aimed Towards Education. A safety, educational, charitable and advocacy organization for motorcyclists.

A barrier made of felled trees, according to the OSPD4. The sort of barrier common in the Scrabble forest. The plural form is formed with -es: abatises. The singular and plural are also spelled with double tee.

Automated Bit Access Test System.



Abhandlungen der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. German, `Transactions of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences.' Continues the journal SBAW, q.v. The philological study of classical antiquity is within the bailiwick of this Bavarian academy. So, as discussed at the Geisteswissenschaften entry, Wissenschaften means something like the French word sciences.

ASEA Brown Boveri.

[group picture of ABBA]

The name of the group is the first initials of the band members: Agnetha Fältskog, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad (listed here from oldest to youngest, FWIW; I think that's the order if there's an official one; there are, of course,
2 × 2 = 4
possible orders consistent with the group name; philologically speaking, I think it's suggestive that chronological ordering yields the name, which has an a priori probability of only 1/4 -- I mean, they might've been BABA). The first pair were married and the second pair had a relationship. Eventually, everyone split up reportedly amicably (in 1982) and continued solo or other-group careers. This unofficial page is as good a place to start as any. A French TV retrospective called ``Thank You ABBA'' led to a video, coreleased with CD box set.

In 1977, they released the album ``Knowing Me, Knowing You.'' The cover art featured the two couples in a somewhat symmetric order (B, A, A, B) and the group name written with an unprecedented degree of bilateral symmetry: the second letter B was printed backwards (i.e., facing left). ABBA was always very un-metallic and generally too sweet to be truly cool, so it's great to know that bands like NIN are derivative. Just call them ninnies.

Asian BodyBuilding Federation.

Association des Banques et Banquiers, Luxembourg. That might be its single official name, or its official name in French, or simply the name that appears first on its website. Alternate names given are ``The Luxembourg Bankers' Association'' and ``Luxemburger Bankenvereinigung.'' I've seen ABBL expanded in English-language reporting as the ``Association of Banks and Bankers of Luxembourg'' (almost the literal translation of the French name).

Like many Luxembourg websites, that of the ABBL is easiest to read if you are comfortable in at least a couple of languages. (English and French, in this case. To take another example, the Editpress Tageblatt Luxembourg, whose name is a slightly macaronic mix of at least English and German, has webpages in a mix of French and German. No translations are offered, of course. In a truly multilingual country, they're not needed.)

abbr., abbrev.
Abbreviations for abbreviation. Ooooh, spooky! Makes chills run up and down my spine, self-reference and all that.

abbreviated loans
We're not talking finance here. This is the entry for terms and words that undergo substantial abbreviation in the transition from one language (the ``source language'') to another language (the ``target language'' is the usual term, but I use ``destination language'' because it's obviously a superior term). In many cases, the abbreviation consists of dropping words from a compound noun or phrase in the original language. For now I'll just accumulate examples as I encounter or recall them. Maybe I'll draw some inferences later.

From English to various continental languages

parking lot > parking
smoking jacket > smoking

From English to Japanese

overhead projector > OP

ABaCavir. An NRTI used in the treatment of AIDS.

Absorbing Boundary Condition[s].

Academia Brasileira de Ciências. `Brazilian Academy of Sciences.' Founded May 3, 1916, in Rio de Janeiro, as Sociedade Brasileira de Sciencias. Name changed to current one in 1921. I guess they piggy-backed on the orthographic reform.

Accelerator, Brake, Clutch. The standard order of pedals, from right to left, in both LHD and RHD vehicles. If your motor vehicle doesn't have a clutch pedal, well whoop-dee-doo! Give your left-most foot a rest.

Activity-Based Costing. The evaluation of costs based on activities and procedures. Roll the dice.

In Portuguese, ABC is expanded `Custeio Baseado em Atividades.' Fascinating, isn't it? It's what makes the lives of glossarists the stuff of legend.

Always Buy Chesterfields. Apparently a once-persuasive and cogent advertising slogan for a brand of cigarettes with the longest name among popular brands.

Personally, I prefer Marlboros. Or is that Marlboroes? Marlboroughs? As it happens, I don't smoke, so this fact doesn't much affect any cigarette company's bottom line. You get a lot to like with a Marlboro. Like what?

You know, while we're on the subject: I feel that the cig companies are getting a bad rap on the ``societal costs of smoking'' thing. A bunch of state attorneys general have sued them to recover the state-funded portion of the greater medical expenses incurred by smokers, but this is only looking at one side of the ledger. Actuarial studies have repeatedly demonstrated that existing state cigarette taxes just about pay the total government costs caused by smoking. They don't cover the total increase in (government outlays for) medical treatment, but the difference is about made up by the decrease in social security benefits paid, since smokers don't live as long as nonsmokers. Obviously, the state attorneys general should be suing the federal government to adjust the funding formulas for social security.

I read that the cigarette companies introduced this argument once, but that it was rejected on some technicality. (You know, if you save someone's life it doesn't give you a right to kill them?) Still, why don't they publicize this totally exculpatory argument? It would improve their public image, sure. (I guess they settled the suit, but when the US Congress refused to sign off on their part of the bargain, it left a lot of things unresolved. As of July 2000, I don't know the status anymore.)

American Bird Conservancy. In 1997, ABC launched a propaganda campaign called ``Cat Indoors!'' As you can imagine, the goal of this campaign is to create an unnatural predator-free environment for birds, so that marginally viable birds compete with healthy ones for limited food supplies, and bird populations are kept in check only by the ravages of slow-acting starvation and disease. It is cruel not only to wild birds but to all the animals raised in confined and degrading conditions for eventual slaughter and milling into canned cat food.

Of course, the bird conservancy helpfully points out, ``Keeping Cats Indoors Isn't Just For The Birds'' (it's the title of a free brochure). They say that ``[s]cientists [scientists!] estimate that free-roaming cats kill hundreds of millions of birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians each year.'' To think of all those cute furry rats whose diseased, bird-egg-eating lives are brought to a premature end.

American-Born Chinese. Ethnic Chinese born in the US. Not exactly the complement of FOB. Cf. ABCD.

American Bowling Congress. The world's largest sports organization and the official rule-making body of tenpin bowling. Perhaps you'd care to peruse some extensive bowling pages. (Sponsor must worship eyestrain. No longer does that multiple-title-tags garbage that takes so long to load, but now the server-push graphics are about as irritating as the much-hated <BLINK> tag.)

American Broadcasting Company does television and radio. They are a Mickey Mouse company (Back in the 1980's, people joked that ABC stood for ``Aaron's Broadcasting Company.'' The late Aaron Spelling was an executive producer, with creators Esther and Richard Shapiro, and some others, of Dynasty (1981-1989). That probably understates Spelling's importance, but I have a family connection to the Shapiros, so that's the way it's going to stay. We have an alternate Spelling entry anyway.)

In ``Brilliant Mistake,'' Elvis Costello sings

She said that she was working for the ABC News,
It was as much of the alphabet as she knew how to use.
but lately (1998-9) he's been writing lyrics for Burt Bacharach music. This is probably good news for the person or persons who enjoy the music of both. Hmm. Enough to fill a concert hall, apparently. One fan who left a paw print at amazon.com likes Elvis Costello's ``cleaver intellegint lyrics.''

More on ``Brilliant Mistake'' lyrics at the Cu entry, of course. Complete lyrics of the song here.

ArchBishop of Canterbury.

Argentina, Brasil, Chile. That's Spanish for (just guessing here) probably Argentina, Brazil, Chile. ``ABC'' was too hard to remember, so now Mercosur is used.

Associação Blumenauense pró-Ciclovias. `Blumenau Association for Bike Paths.' Blumenau is a city in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.

The initialism ABC is also used in Brazil in reference to the manufacture of automobiles and possibly other stuff, but I can't seem to track it down. You're eager to know why I care. I care because someday I aspire to write a complete entry about the Brazilian politician called Lula, and Lula got his nickname (and his start in politics, as a labor activist) when he was a worker in the ABC industry.

Atanasoff-Berry Computer. Built by John Atanasoff and his graduate student Clifford Berry at Iowa State in 1939. A linear algebra solver. (Twenty-nine simultaneous equations, I think it was.) It operated in the basement of the Physics Building at ISU until 1942. Just for yucks, Cf. ABC.

Audit Bureau of Circulations. Sort of like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, but they put on their flak jackets and load their twelve-gauges if you're late returning your library books (vide CIRC desk). Maybe not. Do you feel lucky, punk?

You do? Okay, then, I guess the ABC is a national organization that keeps track of (``audits'') periodical distribution (``circulation'') rates, and maybe TV and other media, so advertisers can figure out how much they owe the media that carry their ads. It's a different national organization in different countries. (You can sort out the grammatical number agreement yourself; I need to get to sleep.) They're getting into the web advertising business, too.

It seems clever (or cleaver?) to them to offer an alternate expansion...
Not to me.

See the international organization that masterminds the conspiracy of all the putatively independent national organizations: IFABC.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Channel 2. Known as ``Auntie'' (as is the BBC).

Automatic Binary Computer, completed in 1953. (Not to be confused with the famous ABC of a decade and a half earlier.) According to the Giant Computers file, this computer contained 1,200 tubes, 500 crystals, and 50 relays, and occupied 250 square feet.

An elementary programming language originally intended as a replacement for BASIC.

See full details of ABC and its implementations, with example programs, in The ABC Programmer's Handbook by Leo Geurts, Lambert Meertens and Steven Pemberton, (Prentice-Hall ISBN, 0-13-000027-2).
Also, ``An Alternative Simple Language and Environment for PCs,'' Steven Pemberton, IEEE Software, 4, Nº 1, pp. 56-64 (January 1987).

A major web resource for this language appears to be this one, maintained by Steven Pemberton.

ABC uses nesting by indentation and mixes terse shellish features with loquacious baby-programmer talk.

Michael Neumann's extensive list of sample short programs in different programming languages includes source code for two elementary ABC programs -- and after all, how often do I get to write ``elementary ABC''? Neumann identifies Amos, BASIC, Euphoria, Profan, and REXX as similar languages.

The first three letters of the Latin and English alphabets. Because the alphabet is such an elementary piece of knowledge, ``ABC'' is often used to represent something elementary or basic or initial.

The first three letters of the Greek alphabet are alpha, beta, and gamma (α, β, γ). If you rotate a capital γ (Γ), tipping it 45 degrees on its back, you can see the resemblance: the C is a rounded version of a wedge open to one side. The Romans borrowed the Etruscan alphabet, which the Etruscans borrowed from the Greeks living in southern Italy (hence from a ``Western Greek'' alphabet).

At each adoption, there was usually adaptation, and there were also evolutionary changes and reforms within the histories of individual languages. Rotation and other deformations of the letter glyphs were among the evolutionary changes. Another kind of evolutionary change was forced by phonetic changes in the language. In Latin, the sound represented by the third letter of the alphabet was originally some kind of ``hard-gee'' sound, but became devoiced into a hard cee (a k sound, though this too evolved further). A letter for the hard-gee sound was still needed, because the sound was retained in many words, but was no longer unambigously represented by the third letter. This led to a reform.

The Western Greek alphabets, and the Etruscan, had epsilon, digamma, and zeta as the next three letters. The epsilon essentially became our E, the digamma our F, and the zeta our Z. (The digamma is less known today because it was discarded from the Attic Greek alphabet which became dominant in regions where Greek ultimately continued to be written.) The reform consisted of discarding the Z, which was not needed in Latin at the time, and replacing it with a slightly modified form of C that is G. The Z was eventually added back on at the end of the alphabet when the Romans needed it for the many words that were being borrowed from Greek.

Everyone knows about the Alpher Bethe Gamow paper, which has its own Wikipedia entry. Basically, Ralph Alpher was working towards his Ph.D. under George Gamow at Cornell, and had written a paper on nucleosynthesis. The author line would have read R.A. Alpher and G. Gamow, but ``[i]t seemed unfair to the Greek alphabet to have the article signed by Alpher and Gamow only, and so the name of [his colleague] Dr. Hans A. Bethe (in absentia) was inserted in preparing the manuscript for print. Dr. Bethe, who received a copy of the manuscript, did not object, and, as a matter of fact, was quite helpful in subsequent discussions. There was, however, a rumor that later, when the alpha, beta, gamma theory went temporarily on the rocks, Dr. Bethe seriously considered changing his name to Zacharias.''

Gamow, who wrote the quoted text in his 1952 book, The Creation of the Universe, was of course well aware that the last letter of the Greek alphabet is omega. He was just making another pun, and some leeway is allowed. ``Bethe,'' however, requires very little. The name is pronounced as in German, so the th has a tee sound, and the final e has something of a shwa sound, so overall it sounds like the English pronunciation of ``beta.'' The only surprising thing is that -eta in Greek letter names is pronounced with a long a for the stressed vowel in North American English (just as in German). In Britain, the standard dialects make it a long e, as in Velveeta. (In the nonstandard dialects, I suppose the names of Greek letters may not occur very frequently, except perhaps in ``Catherine Zeta-Jones.'') In compensation, the standard dialects in Britain are nonrhotic, so Alpher sounds more similar to alpha.

The wordplay in the author line goes beyond the coincidence of echoing the beginning of the Greek alphabet. The main types of radiation associated with nuclear decay are alpha, beta, and gamma rays. Also, the hypothesis of the paper was that nuclei are generated in a step-by-step sequence loosely resembling progress through the alphabet. (The individual step in the process was the capture of a neutron to increase the atomic mass number. Different nuclei along these isobars could then be generated by electron or positron emission, or by electron capture.) Retrospectively, we know that Alpher's theory (the one in the alpha beta gamma paper) was superseded by Bethe's theory (he became interested in the topic and correctly hypothesized that nucleosynthesis of elements beyond helium took place in stars).

Less well-known is another close association between Gamow and the Greek alphabet, which I quote here from the recollections of É.L. Andronikashvili of the early 1930's, when he was a physics student in Saint Petersburg (then called Leningrad). (These appear in, and apparently were written for, Khalatnikov's book on Landau, pp. 60-62.) He and his brother used to attend parties at the house of, and organized by, the stepdaughters of the translator Isai Benediktovich Mandel'shtamm, a translator. There he first met Lev Davidovich Landau, called ``Dau,'' newly returned from three years abroad to teach at the Leningrad Physico-Technical Institute. (The older stepdaughter, Genia Kannegiser, was a mathematical physicist.)

  Dau was accompanied by his associates, also physicists: Bronstein (nicknamed `the Abbot'), Gamow (`Johnny'), and Ivanenko (`Dimus'), who was later excommunicated' -- that is, denied the friendship of Landau and even the right to be acquainted with him.
...   Gamow's wife was also present, a Moscow University student whom he had brought over from there. She too had a nickname, `Rho,' after the Greek letter ρ. Later, she became `Rho-zero' (ρ0). All this seemed quite pretentious.

Nowadays in physics, the letter rho most frequently represents resistivity or density. It doesn't seem especially flattering. Maybe she was a redhead. The ρ0 (``rho-zero'' or ``rho-nought''), of course, is a neutral meson. (The triplet of rho mesons can be regarded as excited states of the pion triplet.)

It seems that Gamow had the effect of making people think alphabetically in one way or another. James D. Watson (yes, co-discoverer of the double-helix structure of DNA) wrote a memoir with the title Genes, Girls, and Gamow.

Another person with a Greek-letter nickname was Eratosthenes (Eratosthenes of Cyrene). His nickname was Beta. Beta, the second letter of the alphabet, represented the number 2 in Greek numerals. The nickname alludes to his reputation as the second-best in all the various fields in which he worked.

America, Britain, Canada and Australia. This has appeared in HSE documents, and if we keep quiet about it the Kiwis won't find out and be upset. I haven't seen ``ABCAN'' used anywhere.

American Baseball Coaches Association.

Antwerp British Community Association. It ``was exclusively British when founded in 1920 but is no longer so. Our strong and growing Anglophone association now exists to promote English language and cultural contact between all nationalities. It provides an opportunity for social contact which people, living mainly in the Greater Antwerp area, might want or need.'' The ABCA Clubhouse is located at Paardenmarkt 111, 2000 Antwerpen, which turns out to house the Belfry of BATS as well. Cf. BBCA.

American Board of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology. One of various boards run by the ABPP.

AirBorne Communications, Command, and Control System. Specially equipped version of the C-130 military transport, coordinates air and ground forces.

Agency, Board, Commission, or {Department|Division}. Government jargon used since at least about 2002 in Toronto, and possibly nowhere else.

American-Born Confused Desi. A Desi (a subcontinent Indian) born in the US and (possibly only perceived as being) torn between traditional Indian culture and US culture. Also the title of a 1999 film about two ABCD's. Cf. HINA and NRI, and ethnically further afield, the probable model for the ABCD initialism: ABC.

A highly successful book I have seen billed as ``first-ever South Asian American coming-of-age story'' is Born Confused (2002) by Tanuja Desai Hidier. It was one of the books plagiarized by Kaavya Viswanathan for her cut-and-paste achievement How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got A Life.

Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter. Four basic warning signs of melanoma:
  1. -- Asymmetry. Skin discoloration in a shape that does not have a well-defined center. (Or, as nonmathematical physicians express it: ``if a line is drawn through the middle, the sides don't match.'' What ``middle''?)
  2. -- Border. Irregular shape. Not just asymmetric but with scalloped or notched edge.
  3. -- Color. Typically brown or black, and sometimes with mixes of red, white, and blue. How patriotic!
  4. -- Diameter. Larger than a quarter inch.

ABCD data switch
Four-way switchbox: data in or out from one side can be switched to data out or in, respectively, of one of four other devices. Common way for multiple machines to share a printer, or one machine with one serial or parallel port available to be connected to multiple peripherals. Not a device to challenge the mind, and not expensive, but handy.

This entry is here because I can never remember how to spell abscissa.

American Birth Control League. Founded in 1920 by Margaret Sanger. Name changed in 1930 to Planned Parenthood.

Advanced Bipolar and CMOS (process technology). ``Advanced Bipolar'' means bipolar made using technology developed for CMOS.

ABC Museum
Alyce Bartholomew Children's Museum: For ages 6-12; 2921 Franklin St., Michigan City, IN; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and by appointment Mondays through Fridays; (219) 874-8222; $2.50-$3.50.

All information subject to change without my noticing. This is a pretty remote corner of the glossary, I may not be back for a while.

The American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology. Incorporated in 1981, its first president was Manfred Meier. The ABCN administered its first examinations in 1983 under ABPP supervision (it apparently did not officially become a member board of the ABPP until later that year), and awarded the first ABCN Diplomates in clinical neuropsychology the next year. The number of ABCN Diplomates (yeah, it's gotta be capitalized, like NAR Realtor) exceeded 300 in 1996, 400 in 1999, 500 in 2004, and 600 in 2007. This bores me just a little bit less than it does you because the whole time I'm writing, I'm thinking: ``Testing? Making up exams and proctoring and reading (or viewing the work samples) and grading them? That's the main activity of the ABCN and indirectly of the ABPP. It's the main source of stress for me when I teach. How can they stand it?''

In 1989 the ABPP designated the ABCN as the specialty council in clinical neuropsychology, and in 1993 the ABCN implemented a written examination as a requirement for specialty certification in clinical neuropsychology. This must be their secret: do everything in reverse order. Also, keep upping the requirements in order to keep the number of candidates from growing too fast. In 2002, a postdoctoral training program in clinical neuropsychology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was the first postdoc program in the specialty to earn APA accreditation. By 2005, postdoctoral training became a requirement for candidates with doctoral degrees earned after 2004.



Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay. Some old trade agreement. See Mercosur.

Antimonide-Based Compound Semiconductor. Refers in practice to heterostructures made from the InAs/AlSb/GaSb system, as well as the binary, tertiary, and quaternary alloys. The favored applications are in low-voltage technology for very-low-power low-noise amplifiers (LNA's). Here's a webpage that's highly authoritative because it's from an authority that spends mony to buy research on ABCS technology.

Army Battle Command System.

Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. New initialism of the old AABT (they dropped ``Advancement'' from the title). Another old B organization that has added a C to its name is AABP (now AACBP).

American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence. The awkward, ill-thought-out English on their website suggests that they may be trusted to maintain the same standards currently prevailing in the ``profession.''

ABDom{ en | inal }. Medical terminology. (At least, I don't think butchers use this abbreviation in their patient work-ups.)

All-But-Dissertation. Facetiously: the degree before Ph.D. In the final stage, this may also be expanded ``All But Done.'' Of course, the final stage may be longer than all the rest combined, and possibly terminal.

There appears to be a support group for these people; I've seen their signs by the clinic:

``Students for Life.''

The TTBOMKAB entry mentions in passing a young woman who, in 1969, has been renting a cabin in upstate New York for ``several years,'' writing her dissertation. The story (nonfiction) is told by Philip Roth, who seems to imply that she was working on it for the four years they lived together starting in 1969. Call me impatient, but I think of this as not getting on with your life. What people with an ABD degree usually do is feel guilty and drive a cab or something.

Perhaps the most famous instance of an ABD that eventually led to a Ph.D. was the case of Frank Bourgin. In 1945, he received a letter stating the ``unanimous opinion'' of his Ph.D. committee that his 617-page manuscript needed the kind of work that could only be done if he quit his job and came back to the University of Chicago to finish it. With a family to support, he could not do this. Crushed and bitter, he put it away for over forty years, only looking at the box that held it on the eight occasions when he moved. Finally he looked at it again after he retired. The dissertation became The Great Challenge: The Myth of Laissez-Faire in the Early Republic (1989) (xxiv+246 pp.). This was not an ordinary ABD situation. Four decades later, it was hard to reconstruct what had happened, but it seems that Prof. Leonard D. White, member of the Ph.D. committee and chair of the department, had -- not to put too fine a point on it -- lied. White apparently reported the ``unanimous opinion'' of Bourgin's committee without in fact consulting the rest of the committee. The surviving member claims he never saw the dissertation. Bourgin's advisor was busy with wartime work in Washington, DC, and retired afterwards. He had proposed Bourgin's topic but gave him less help or supervision than was normal. The full story of how Bourgin was eventually awarded his Ph.D. in Pol. Sci. on June 10, 1988, is told in the preface and in Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.'s foreword to that book (read the latter first, to avoid confusion).

American-British-Dutch-Australian. Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands (and Belgium, Luxembourg, and France) beginning on May 10, 1940. The Netherlands received an ultimatum -- to surrender or have its cities destroyed. On May 14, Rotterdam was bombed, leaving 814 dead and 78,000 homeless; the Netherlands surrendered on May 15. Queen Wilhelmina and leading members of her government escaped to London, where a government-in-exile was established. Most of the Dutch Navy also escaped.

The Dutch fleet saw action in the Java Sea in late February 1942, where a combined ABDA fleet battled a Japanese fleet covering an invasion force approaching Java (part of the Dutch East Indies). The Allied fleet consisted of a cruiser from each country and some destroyers, and had no air support. The Allies were routed. Of the entire Allied fleet then operating in the Dutch East Indies, only four American destroyers made it back to Australia.

aBDC, ABDC, abdc
After Bottom Dead Center. See BDC.

Abraham. Abraham Lincoln preferred to be called Abraham rather than Abe, but even when he was president he often didn't have a choice.

Abraham was considered to have an unattractive face. During the famous debates with Douglas, when Douglas accused him of being two-faced, he replied by asking rhetorically, whether if he had another face, he'd be wearing the one he had on. While he was president a young girl wrote him a letter suggesting that he'd look better with a beard. He took the advice. Why didn't Mary Todd think of that?

Abe also had a lazy eye. Daguerrotypes or early photographs from the time of his presidency were generally ``corrected.''

Press pictures of Franklin Delano Roosevelt never showed his wheelchair or crutches. Television didn't either. (He attended a world's fair where an experimental TV system was being demonstrated, and became the first US president to appear on television.)

I decided to grow a beard a couple of years ago. It looked good when it was starting, but I'd have to trim it to Yassir Arafat length to keep it looking good. The main issue, however, is kissing. In Latin America, the saying is Un beso sin bigote es como un huevo sin sal. [`A kiss without a mustache is like an egg without salt.'] To judge by my experience here in the US, however, American women prefer their eggs without salt. I mean, it can't be me.

The title of Woody Allen's Bananas refers to a Central American banana republic that is the scene of much of the action. Back in Nueva York, the Woody Allen character's love interest Nancy is played by Louise Lasser (Woody Allen's love interest at the time). She leaves him because some indefinable ``something is missing,'' she doesn't know what. Some improbable accidents later, he returns to fund-raise in New York, a leftist guerilla leader in big-beard-and-mustache disguise. Nancy is attracted. In bed she screams ``That's what was missing!'' Still, as I noted (read the previous paragraph if you already forgot) this is the exception rather than the rule among the Anglos.

I suppose that the saying has added significance in Spanish, owing to the fact that huevo (`egg') is slang for testicle. In fact, a form of apparent hermaphroditism that arose from a spontaneous mutation a couple of generations back in the Dominican Republic (.do) was locally known as huevos a doce (`eggs at twelve'). We ain't talkin' midnight breakfast at Denny's here, capisce? Fetal androgen deficiency leads to male babies with apparently female external genital organs; testosterone surge at puberty produces male appearance and reproductive function (pretty much).

Consider the merkin.

I've often wondered if Sp. bigote is etymologically related to Eng. bigot, but I've never bothered to check. Okay, I just checked. Etymology uncertain.

Bananas -- now why would a sex-obsessed comedian and occasional ironist name a movie after a fruit? Is there a deeper reason? What kind of bananas? Give me 400 words; the exam ends promptly at 4:30. (This issue isn't addressed at the electrical banana entry, though Woody Allen is mentioned there.) Woody -- how did he end up with that name? His given name isn't Woodrow.

Acceptor-Bound Exciton.

Advanced Book Exchange. ``[T]he INTERNET's most popular service for buying and selling out-of-print, used, rare and antiquarian books.'' See also a select listing here.

Precise relationship to ABAA unclear, but in any case, while I'm having trouble reaching its server, the list of ABAA members on ABE is up.

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.

IATA code for Lehigh Valley International Airport (abbreviated LVI in road signs, located closest to Allentown, PA, USA, but the letters ABE reflect its traditional name, Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Airport, for the three largest cities it serves. Here's its status in real time from the ATCSCC.

Agri-Business Educational Foundation. The executive vice president of NAMA also serves as the president of the ABEF.

A Eurasian tree, according to the OSPD4. It can be found scattered throughout the Scrabble forest. Plural form abeles.

Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature. Apparently now integrated into Literature Online (LION).

ABnormal END. ``End'' in the sense of program run termination. I mean, it doesn't mean flat butt or anything.

German, `evening' (cognate, of course). Normal end of day.

To be fair, I should note that the end of the day for dating purposes has varied historically, and only recently become settled, for most civil purposes, as midnight.

Jewish religious dates are reckoned to begin at sundown. Thus for example, a Jewish holiday that in a particular Gregorian year falls on what is nominally September 1 is celebrated or observed beginning at sundown on August 31. The talmudic reasoning for this is based on the wording of the Genesis creation story, which includes a repeated formula translated ``and there was night, and day -- the first day.'' This is taken to imply that the day begins with nightfall. It makes a certain kind of sense that He created the Sun at night -- what was the alternative?

Back in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, a lot of different places were considered as possibilities for a Jewish national homeland. The Soviets even allocated a place in the middle of southeastern nowhere and deported some Jewish volunteer settlers there. Other places seriously considered were in Africa, in Grand Island, New York, and, oh yeah, the bloody Middle East. Grand Island, NY, is very close to Canada. Parts of Canada are north of the Arctic Circle. If a place inside the Arctic Circle had been selected, then for some of the year there would be no sunset, wreaking havoc with Jewish holiday reckoning. I don't claim that this observation is original with me, and neither did Mordecai Richler. (I mean, he didn't claim it was original with him. I don't think he was even aware of me.) In his Solomon Gursky Was Here, Richler recalled the old proof that neither Judaism nor Islam could be universal religions: fasting for an entire day would kill the Arctic/Antarctic dweller. He had some fun with the implications of this for the Inuit.

Also, matzah trees probably don't bloom that far north. Traditionally, however, there's another explanation of how the Jewish homeland came to be where it is. After the Lord of the Universe brought His people out of Egypt (Mitzraim), He asked Moses (Moshe) where he would like to have the Jewish national homeland. You'll recall that Moses was a stutterer. This is probably the real reason why they wandered around in the desert for forty years. Moses wanted a land flowing with milk and honey and all, and he answered the Lord ``Ca... Ca-a... Cana... Cana-a...'' and the omniscient Lord of all creation said ``Oh, Canaan. No problem. So be it.'' Actually, what Moses was trying to say was Canada. Some years later, Britain and France clashed there on the Plains of Abraham.

Incidentally, a better transliteration for Canaan would be Cana'an. See the aa entry for more on that. And also, the Thirty-Second Medieval Workshop was hosted by the U of BC in Vancouver (24-26 October 2002). The theme was ``Promised Lands: The Bible, Christian Missions, and Colonial Histories in Latin Christendom, 400-1700 AD.'' Now back to the subject of the entry -- Abend...

Observational astronomers spend the night hours awake and would prefer to have all the records of a particular night correspond to a single ``day.'' For this reason, Scaliger's useful Julian day scheme was eventually extended by astronomers so that Julian days begin at noon (at the Greenwich meridian). Of course, this isn't very useful if you're observing in Hawaii, or even at the AAO. For more on Julian days, see JD entry.

This page shows where on earth you can get some shut-eye.

Abendländer, Abendlaender
German, literally `evening lands,' literarily `the Occident.' Like, you know, `the West.' Like Morgenlaender, the singular form is used only in the genitive.

Defined forthrightly in the always useful Pantologia (London, 1813) as
plain or downright murder; as distinguished from the less heinous crimes of manslaughter, and chance-medley. It is derived from Saxon æbere, apparent, notorious, and morth, murder; and was declared a capital offence without fine or commutation, by the laws of Canute, and of Henry I.

If you had the word murder already on the board, and five more common tiles on your rack... but no, the word does not occur in any of the three major Scrabble dictionaries. That just kills me.

Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Gives accreditation to university programs in these disciplines. Arguably the single most destructive influence on Engineering education in the US, although the NSF is horning in on the action with seed money for fashionable foolishness.

Abfahrt. German for `departure.' That a German word beginning with ab- should have as its English translation a Romance word beginning in de- is often no accident; cf. Abg.

Australian Bridge Federation. The largest of the four NBO's comprising the South Pacific Bridge Federation (SPBF -- Zone 7 of the WBF). In 2006, the ABF had 32,501 members. Interestingly, the NBO of New Zealand (NZCBA) had nearly half as many (15,050). Some further numbers to illumine this: the populations of Australia and New Zealand are about 21 million and 4.2 million, respectively. Whipping out my satisfyingly rigid slip stick (because it requires fewer keystrokes to bring up than the calculator app), I estimate that this yields an interest level of 4.387012.

ABsolutely FABulous. A British TV series, 1992-1996.

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. I thought that perhaps the organization might date back to the struggles to get Henry Miller distributed in the US, but a Google search restricted to the site only turns up one Miller: Matt, the organization's treasurer.

In fact, ABFFE was founded in 1990 by the American Booksellers Association. They are a co-sponsor of Banned Books Week.

See also FEN.

American Board of Family Practice.

American Board of Forensic Psychology.

Abgeordnete[r]. German: `[elected or appointed] representative.' A noun declined as an adjective. The form with final r is male. (For a slight discussion of this sort of noun, see Vors.) Abgeordneter also functions as a title, Herr Abgeordneter Litfaß and Frau Abgeordnete Litfaß serving for `Representative Litfass.'

Etymologically, Abgeordnete corresponds approximately to the English noun delegate, with ab- and de- both having a sense like `off, away,' so the person is one `sent away' (in Romance) or `ordered off' (in German). For a parallel instance, see Abf. [I should make clear that ordnen, of which geordnet is the past participle, is normally used in the sense of `organize, arrange.' It is cognate with English verb order, of course, which can be synonymous with command, but `command' is not a common sense of the German verb.]

Arterial Blood Gas.

Abhandlung[en]. German, `paper[s], treatise[s].'

Association of BHaratanatyam Artistes of India.

Abhandlungen der Deutschen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin. `Papers of the German Academy of Sciences at Berlin.'

Gesundheit! Oh, sorry, I thought I heard a sneeze.

An abhesive is a material that resists adhesion. This is the noun use of an adjective, of course, but you can figure out the meaning of the adjective from the meaning of the noun. I resist defining adjectives. Oh, okay: ``that resists adhesion.'' Happy now? ``Like teflon.''

AbhGött, AbhGoett
Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen. `Papers of the Academy of Sciences at Goettingen.'

Abhandlungen der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften. `Papers of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences.'

Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes. `Papers for Announcements about the Orient.'

The word Morgenlande is an archaism. At the time this word was used in ordinary speech, it meant what the English term the Orient meant: the exotic regions to the east of Europe, with a strong connotation of backwardness, technological and moral. That Orient included the Middle East (Near East) and the Far East.

Except in the genitive case, only the plural form of the German term was used. Landes is the genitive singular of Land. The form Lande which I used above is an archaic nominative plural; if the term were coined today the nom. pl. would have to be Morgenländer. You know, that ILL request is gonna take a while, so you've got some time. Why not amble over to the Morgenlande entry and read some more about this fascinating word? Oh wait, wait: you get to choose. I just thought of another German word with an interesting semantic history.


Abhandlungen des Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig. `Papers of the Saxon [as in Saxony] Academy of Sciences at Leipzig.'

For classicists, it would be short for Abhandlungen des Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig, Philologisch-historische Klasse. (After the comma: `Philological-Historical section.')


Abhandlungen der [Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Klasse,] Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur in Mainz. `Papers of the [Humanities and Social Sciences Section,] Academy of Sciences and Literature at Mainz.' [The section indicated in square brackets is of interest to classicists.]

AbhMünch, AbhMuench
Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, München, Philosophisch-historische Klasse. Abhandlungen. `Bavarian Academy of Sciences, Munich, Philosophical-Historical Section. Papers.'

Acquired Brain Injury. Variably defined, but generally excludes prenatal injury, genetic defect, degenerative neurological disease, and disability stemming from mental illness. It probably includes acute alcohol poisoning. Since adjusting the definition of this general term does not materially advance or retard the ability to treat any brain injury, it can mean whatever you please.

Advanced (abbreviated A!) Bus Interface.

Alabama Bureau of Investigation. Led fo many yeahs bah th' lejunderuh Herb Hooovah, ah uhmagine.

Alcohol[ic] Beverage Industry. Cf. this other ABI.

Application Binary Interface. Software emulation of a distinct operating environment, allowing binaries of an application for certain operating systems on certain platforms to run under a different OS on a different platform (like MS-DOS programs on Mac).

Association of British Insurers. The trade association for the UK's insurance industry, representing about 400 companies and about 95% of the industry's business as of 2005.

Automated Broker Interface.

Association of British Independent Accounting Firms. The word order is an odd permutation of what one might expect: independent modifying British accounting firms. The order might be due to what seems to have been an earlier name of the organization: ``Association of British Independent Chartered Accountants.'' I'm sure there's a precedence chart somewhere showing that ``independent'' binds more tightly to ``chartered accountant'' than to ``British.'' The term chartered accountant alone describes an individual with a certain level of professional education or certification (like professional engineer or licensed practical nurse). The term independent chartered accountant, on the other hand, is a bit like the term independent scholar among academics: it communicates how the person does business. That makes independent chartered accountants an easily recognizable term that can be reasonably modified by a nationality, while independent British chartered accountants might not be so immediately parseable. Still, one wishes they'd gone with ``British Association of....''

Advanced BIOS.

Adler-Bell-Jackiw. In 1969, S. Adler (Phys. Rev., vol. 177, p. 2426) and J.S. Bell and R. Jackiw (Nuovo Cim., vol. 51, p. 47) published their independent discoveries of a mathematical feature of four-dimensional field theories. The feature is known as the ABJ chiral anomaly, ABJ axial anomaly, ABJ triangle anomaly (infrequently), or just plain ABJ anomaly, and by any of those with ABJ absent or replaced by the names it represents.

Austin (TX) Business Journal.

Abkurzung. German for `abbreviation [of a word or phrase], shortening [of a meeting, for example], short cut.' The abbreviation Abk., as opposed to the word, occurs primarily in dictionaries, with the first sense given.

American Boarding Kennel Association. Former name of the Pet Care Services Association (PCSA).


ABLative. One of the cases into which nouns may be declined in an inflected language. The Latin ablative case subsumes instrumental and locative cases, although there are a few rare words with distinct instrumental or locative form. (That is, it is inferred from other Indo-European languages, and from scraps of evidence within Latin itself, that Latin once had a more robust case system with separate instrumental and locative forms.)

Most prepositions in Latin take objects in the accusative or ablative case. [In the same way, pronouns that are the objects of prepositions in English are in the objective case. Thus ``you and I, or we'' give a gift, but a gift is given ``to you and me, or us.'' Obviously, English has a rather fragmentary case system, in which the subject and object forms of nouns and of the personal pronouns you and it are not distinguished.]

Noun phrases occur in various functions in a sentence, and not just as the objects of prepositions. The various cases in Latin are used to indicate these functions. For some cases, the function is quite straightforward. The vocative is used to address the named person. (Hence Shakespeare's Caesar calls out, ``Et tu, Brute.'' Brute here is the vocative form of Brutus.) There are vocative forms for nouns that you wouldn't normally address directly; Winston S. Churchill found this situation scandalous, but then he was always one to see the moral dimension in things. Similarly, the nominative indicates the subject of a sentence (this is typically the same as the agent), the accusative marks the direct object, etc. The uses of the ablative case are not so straightforward, and resist being summarized. Thus, Latinists like to (or in any case do) define various categories of ablative corresponding to various instances in which a noun phrase ought to be declined in the ablative case. These can get amusing. Okay, usually just mildly amusing. Come on, grin a little bit. We don't have a very extensive list yet. You can watch as it is built.

Or else you can go and watch paint dry. It's up to you.

Atmospheric Boundary Layer. Earth's PBL.


ablative of association
The ablative case when used for the noun or noun phrase that in English would typically be the object of the preposition with, when the action described by the verb involves some kind of spatial or metaphorical closeness. (These uses are conceived as deriving from the Indo-European instrumental case, which is merged with the IE ablative and locative cases in the case that is simply called the ablative in Latin.)

Charles E. Bennett's article, ``The Ablative of Association,'' on pp. 64-81 of the 1905 issue of TAPA, has the following initial footnote: ``This investigation has had regard to the [Latin] literature down to the time of Apuleius. While the lists of examples are quite full, it is not claimed that they are absolutely complete for all authors.'' Bennett agreed with those Indo-Europeanists who regarded the IE instrumental ``as having primarily a sociative force'' and sought to ``show that the range and frequency of the instrumental are much more extensive in Latin than is at present recognized. According to my observations it appears with verbs of joining, entangling, mixing, sharing, being attended, keeping company with, being accustomed, wedding, mating, piling, playing, changing and interchanging, agreeing, wrestling; also with adjectives of equality.'' I dunno -- it looks like he might have overplayed his hand.

To be in greater sympathy with this view, one may observe that the German preposition mit serves more of an instrumental function than the corresponding English preposition with. (They are almost certainly not cognates, but each overlaps more closely in meaning with the other than either does with any other preposition in the other language.) Specifically, I have in mind constructs like ``mit Bus,'' meaning `by bus.'


Latin: a select body of ancient Roman soldiers (back when they weren't ancient) chosen from among those called extraordinarii. [Acc. to Pantologia (London, 1813)]. Wow! It kind of reminds me of Dilia's reaction when we went to see the movie Superman.

Hmmm. It just occurred to me that in Europe (in Germany and Italy, anyway), ordinarius professors are regular faculty, and extraordinarius professors are just adjuncts (like ``extras'' in a show). So maybe the ablecti weren't the best of the best, but at best only the best of the rest. I'll have to check back.

These confusions seem to happen a lot. A medieval epithet expressing great respect, and bestowed on very few, was stupor mundi. This means `wonder of the world,' but that's not exactly what it sounds like to the average English-speaker (you have to think ``stupefier, stunner' for stupor).

[dive flag]

Adjustable Buoyancy Life-Jacket. Early name for early versions of what have now been refined into neutral-buoyancy devices called BC's or BCD's. In Britain, apparently, the term is still used for horsecollar-style snorkel vests.

The horsecollar-style emergency life-jackets used to be called by a more evocative name. If I were singing ``Hey Nineteen,'' at this point I would insert a lyric about Mae West.

An English verb (from Latin abludo) meaning be unlike [acc. to Pantologia (London, 1813)].

An English adjective (from Latin abluens) meaning that has the power of cleaning [acc. to Pantologia (London, 1813)]. Cognate with ablution, a word so commonly used that I've even read it somewhere other than a dictionary.

Activity-Based Management. As opposed to inactivity-based management. It's a legitimate choice!

Anti-Ballistic Missile. This is not an adjective for those opposed to Ballistic Missile. It is really the noun

anti-(Ballistic Missile) Missile.

There is an ABM treaty between the US and something called the USSR, that limited the deployment of ABM systems to two areas (subsequently one).

Arbeitsbeschaffungsmassnahmen. Germany's public works and retraining measures for the unemployed.

Asynchronous Balanced Mode. (Acronym used in IBM's HDLC, at least.)

A Bit More About That. I can find no evidence that anyone on the web uses this valuable acronym yet.

American Battle Monuments Commission. In existence since 1923, it botched the design of the World War II Memorial on the Capitol Mall in Washington, D.C.

Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center.

Annals of BioMedical Engineering. The journal of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).

AntiBonding Molecular Orbital (MO). Typically labelled by a superscript asterisk.

A Bit More On That. Look, let's not get promiscuous with the acronym neologizing, okay? Use ABMAT.

American Board of Medical Physics. Run by the ACMP, it provides board certification for medical physicists.

American Board of Medical Psychotherapists.

Atomic-Beam Magnetic Resonance. A good way to make hfs measurements in the atomic ground state and in low-lying metastable states. See I. I. Rabi, S. Millman, P. Kusch and J. R. Zacharias, Physical Review 53, 318 (1938).

(That's right, 1938. Modern English was already spoken in that epoch.)

Agent-Based Modeling and Simulation.

American Board of Medical Specialties.

Loosely speaking, this also has something to do with the plural of ABM.

Advance Beneficiary Notice. Refers not to the notice itself but to a specific form signed to acknowledge that notice has been received. Then again, that form is also known as the ``ABN notice,'' which might be an unusual case of merely apparent but not manifest acronym-assisted pleonasm (usually abbreviated AAP pleonasm). That is, the proper term may be ``ABN notice,'' with ABN a sort of metonymic reference to it, or an indication of the fact that being given the form to sign may be the only notice beneficiaries are given of their impending financial obligation. Alternatively, you could regard ABN as an acronym for Advance Beneficiary Notice notice, and ``ABN notice'' as an AAP pleonasm pleonasm. The actual notification, if it ever occurred independently of the request to sign a form, could be ``AB'' for clarity.

Fascinating glossary entry so far, eh?

After plowing through that paragraph, you're probably desperate for substantive information about just what the ABN (or ABN notice) is about. Medicare requires that a doctor or other health care provider have the beneficiary sign an ABN to indicate that notification has been given that certain services to be rendered will probably not be paid for by Medicare (whether because it considers the service medically unnecessary or because it simply doesn't cover it).

The notification must be given in advance of the services. I suppose that under Medicare rules, in the absence of a signed ABN the patient cannot be held responsible for charges not reimbursed by Medicare. The ABN requirement applies only to patients in the Original Medicare Plan. It does not apply to those in a Medicare Managed Care Plan. It also does not apply to those not in any Medicare plan. I mean--what are you, crazy or something? You're dreamin'!

Some of you who are blissfully ignorant may be wondering about the word ``probably,'' but I've got stuff to do. I'll be back here soon.

[dive flag]

According to Pantologia (London, 1813),
a military garment, worn by the Greek and Roman soldiers: it was lined, or doubled, for warmth. There seem to have been different kinds of abollas, fitted to different occasions. Even kings appear to have used them: Caligula was affronted at king Ptolemy for appearing at the shows in a purple abolla, and by the eclat thereof turning the eyes of the spectators from the emperor upon himself.

It seems that even then, dressing in inappropriate military garb was a major fashion statement. Today, the abolla is mentioned in the Fashion Glossary of the ICCF&D. (``Roman military cloak, worn short in length, over one shoulder and fastened at the throat with a fibula.'')

And yet the Forthrights Phrontistery -- International House of Logorrhea includes it in a list of obscure words, even though it's defined in at least three on-line reference works!

Academic Bill Of Rights. Also called ``Students' Bill of Rights,'' etc. Intended to try to produce a semblance of political balance on college campuses, as if even high school faculty were not already radicalized. Favorable and unfavorable arguments (with some rebuttal) can be found at the SAF site. The American Philosophical Association, like most established (or ``establishment,'' as we used to say in our protesting days) academic organizations (``tools of the oppressor'' or ``organs of the system''; I like ``tenured flunkies for the new leftist man'') are strongly opposed (the APA's arguments here).

The ABoR document at the SAF is mostly preamble, but when it gets to the nitty gritty, it encounters the same problems that we are all familiar with from older affirmative-action programs intended to try to produce some semblance of racial balance, or equality of opportunity or...

The first ``principle'' reads: ``All faculty shall be hired, fired, promoted and granted tenure on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge in the field of their expertise and, in the humanities, the social sciences, and the arts, with a view toward fostering a plurality of methodologies and perspectives. No faculty shall be hired or fired or denied promotion or tenure on the basis of his or her political or religious beliefs.'' Making use of the distributive property and simplifying, we can summarize thus: hiring, firing, promotion and tenure decisions shall be made ``with a view toward fostering a plurality of methodologies and perspectives,'' yet without being affected by employee's ``political or religious beliefs.''

There are other principles. They are idealistic.

A term in botany for flowers without seeds (from Latin abortiens). Maybe the word you were looking for was...

A substance that induces abortion. Ancient and modern examples include laser and RU-486, resp. Another is mentioned at the NARAL entry.

I don't have time to go through a whole history of the thing, but here's somewhat recent (late April and May 2009) news on public attitudes about abortion in the US. The results seemed to represent a statistically significant deviation from the steady pattern of the previous decade or two.

A survey by the Pew Research Center found a sharp drop in the number of people ``who support legalized abortion,'' from 54% in August 2008 to 46% in a survey conducted from March 31 to April 21, 2009. Views on abortion are not entirely straightforward; most ``pro-choice'' people oppose infanticide and most ``pro-life'' people approve some form of birth control, and a majority of people favor legal abortion in some cases and not in others. So you'll want to look at the detailed survey results as reported by Pew and by Gallup. See also NARAL.

Most programs have a pull-down menu item or a button you can push that tells you the name of the program and who wrote it. This feature is labeled ``About [program name].'' If you want to find out what the program does, just click on Help and skim the first 100 pages of the manual, and there's a good chance you'll learn enough About it to make an educated guess as to what it does. I wouldn't skip over the section on changing the background color; that's often the only part of the help pages that mentions what kinds of input and output the software takes and gives.

The word ``about'' is often synonymous with ``approximately.'' I've noticed a context where ``about'' is more exactly parsed as ``we prefer not to say exactly.''

(This paragraph just states what everyone knows, to set context for the slightly interesting stuff in the next.) Packaged foods that are required by US law to bear a ``Nutrition Facts'' summary list a ``Serving Size'' and ``Servings Per Container.'' Often, the food product in the package comes in countable parts -- individual crackers, say, or a chocolate bar molded into rectangles so as to break into a composite number of pieces. For small packages, the serving size is sometimes the entire package, but in all other cases that I can recall, the serving size is chosen so that it does not divide evenly into the number of pieces, and thus yields a ``Servings Per Container'' value like ``about 7.'' The evident intent of this choice is to defeat the law's purpose: the need to do further arithmetic in order to obtain more meaningful numbers than something like calories-per-seven-twenty-fifths-of-the-package discourages consumers from taking advantage of the data provided. It seems at least plausible that the serving size is selected merely to yield reasonable-seeming numbers to the inattentive shopper. I guess it's even conceivable that the serving size is chosen so that rounding makes the inferred total numbers look better, to those who do the math.

Anyway, the ``About'' following ``Servings Per Container'' has become something of a reflex. Today I found something approximating proof of that: according to the label, Murray / Sugar Free Cookies / Vanilla Wafers reports ``nutrition'' facts for a serving size of 4 cookies, and there are ``About 9'' such servings in the package. The package didn't look like it contained wafers stacked even as few as 5 high, let alone 7 or 11. Sure enough, the package contained 12 stacks of 3 wafers each. ``Foiled,'' as they say, by non-prime factorization.

A. Bp.
Old abbreviation for an old ArchBishoP. There probably aren't many young archbishops.

Androgen-Binding Protein. Similar to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG).

Abp., ABp., Abp

Arterial Blood Pressure.

American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc.

American Board of Professional Psychology. ``We are a major player in the profession's interest in specialization.''

Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry.

Association of Black Psychologists.

abnormal psychology. Pronounced `ab-sigh.' David L. Gilles-Thomas's lecture notes for a full course are available on-line.

I think that someone who studies abnormal psychology is called a normal psychologist, but I haven't had a chance to check that.

Association of Blind Piano Tuners. I guess there's one less distraction that way.

It's not widely known, and it probably isn't even true, that piano is very popular in the mountain kingdom of Bhutan (.bt). In fact, piano is probably the national sport. Once, the King of Bhutan heard of a man with perfect pitch and judgment, the best piano tuner in the world: Oppur Knockety. (For the purposes of this entry, we're going to assume Oppur Knockety is blind. It has some resonance.) For a great reward, the King persuaded Oppur Knockety to visit the palace and tune the King's own piano. When he was done, the piano sounded true and wonderful, better than one could have imagined that a piano could sound, before one heard this one.

That night, there was a great storm, and the next day, when the King sat down for his morning exercises, the piano was painfully out of tune. The King called for his men to bring back the tuner, to fix the piano, but they returned with only his solemn regret...

Oppur Knockety only tunes once.

You know, this guy reminds me of King Frederick the Great. He was a great patron of the sciences. Leonhard Euler spent twenty-five years as a guest in Frederick's court, which I suppose is why one of the most famous early problems in topology is the seven bridges of Königsberg (first capital of Prussia), except that Frederick the Great ascended the Prussian throne in 1740, and Euler treated this problem in 1735. Oh well. At the end of WWII, East Prussia became Russian and Polish territory, and Königsberg became Kaliningrad, Russia.

Seven Bridges Road, sung in occasionally a capella harmony, was a hit for The Eagles in 1968. Steve Young wrote it about a road by that (unofficial) name that leads out of Montgomery, Alabama into idyllic countryside by way of seven bridges.

There's also a parkway called Seven Bridges Road in Duluth, Minnesota. It has gone by a variety of names. Samuel Snively, the fellow who had the inspiration first to build it, and who got most of the original road built in 1899-1900, wanted to call it Spring Garden Boulevard, but that name never caught on. It follows Amity Creek and was best known as Amity Parkway, but it was also called Snively Road. It originally had ten wooden bridges, but these and the road generally fell into disrepair, until 1911-1912, when it was renovated and the original bridges were replaced. The renovation plan called for stone-arch bridges to replace the wooden ones, but one of these was downgraded to a less decorative iron-pipe-and-cement structure. Of the nine stone-arch bridges, the two at the upstream (Western) end fell into vehicular disuse, hence the current name. But it was never called Ten Bridges Road or Nine Bridges Road. Some numbers have more romance.

You know, on the subject of romance, it says here in the Columbia Encyclopedia that in 1733 the future King Frederick II ``married Elizabeth of Brunswick-Bevern, but he separated from her shortly afterward and for the rest of his life showed no interest in women'' (my italics). Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.

In 2001 there was an incident in Bhutan involving royal marriage, and it turned out much worse. Oops, wrong Himalayan kingdom. It was Nepal.

As noted above, King Frederick II ascended the throne in 1740 -- he was known as Frederick the Great because his cynical, unscrupulous military adventures Greatly enlarged his kingdom. He was into all things French, and had a serious amateur interest in music. He played flute concertoes. As you may well imagine, in his court everyone absolutely loved flute concertoes. The King of Prussia was an absolute monarch.

The pianoforte (Italian for `gentle-strong') was invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori around 1709. The original name, eventually shortened to piano, stresses the respect in which it was a major improvement over its predecessor the harpsichord: it is possible to vary the volume (and duration) of a note. The piano supplanted the harpsichord over the course of the nineteenth century, growing in popularity even as it was still being perfected. Gottfried Silbermann, the foremost German organ builder of the time, worked at perfecting the instrument. Frederick the Great was his greatest supporter and customer -- he was said to have owned as many as fifteen Silbermann pianos. So much for the Bhutan connection.

Fritz had his court in Potsdam (I guess that explains the Euler topology thing), where Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (a son of the great Johann Sebastian, and no mean musician himself) was Capellmeister (`chapel-, i.e., choir-master'). C. P. E. Bach was one of the first major composers to write for the piano. In 1747, J. S. Bach paid a visit to King Frederick's court and tried out all the pianos. A bit more on that the RICERCAR entry.

ABRidged. Abbreviation used in the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature and elsewhere.

Sometimes terms like ``abridged'' are used where ``almost completely discarded'' would convey a more accurate idea. A paperback volume in the Milestones of Thought series from the Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. offers a good example. The front cover bears the title The Anatomy of Melancholy, a woodcut of a melancholy person, and the name of the author, Robert Burton. Below this: ``Abridged and Edited by Joan K. Peters.'' This handy volume is xviii+129 pages long. Not quite buried in the back-cover blurb and an introductory note is the information that the unabridged work is 1300 pages long. (The original and this have about the same count of words per page, within a few percent; so the text really is compressed by a factor of about 10.)

Accredited Buyer Representati{on|ve}. Real estate brokerage role.

Acrylate-Butadiene Rubber.

The American Board of Radiology.

Available Bit Rate. A type of traffic management control defined within ATM. Appropriate for applications that send data in bursts and can wait for available bandwidth.

UBR (q.v.) and ABR are the two ATM ``best-effort'' service types, a sort of steerage class of data transmission, in which the network makes no absolute guarantee of cell delivery. In ABR, a minimum bit rate is guaranteed, and an effort is made to keep cell loss low.

Asociación de Bancos de la República Argentina. `Association of Banks of the Republic of Argentina.' That's not banks as in the shores of the Río de la Plata. That's banks where you store your plata (literally `silver,' but commonly used as a synonym of dinero). Then when the economy collapses, the government finds ways to prevent you getting your money back, except eventually, and in officially as well as unoffically shrunken form. Argentines who really have money, of course, just keep the loose change in domestic banks and the bulk off-shore.

Of course, in principle it could also mean `association of [park] benches of the Republic of Argentina.' Managing money requires the exercise of sound judgment. In Argentina today, investing in park benches (and charging rent, collectable in hard currency) might be the way to go.

Spanish is one of those languages that, with no offense intended, physicists refer to as `highly degenerate.' Words have many meanings (acepciones). I suppose you could apply the same term to languages in which words have many spellings (which should be called heterographs). It's a transferred sense of the physics adjective degenerate (German vielfach), describing an eigenvalue (most often an energy eigenvalue) corresponding to more than one eigenstate. I don't mind giving clear and thorough explanations. It just happens that I don't.

In 1998, ABRA closed, after a fashion, merging with ADEBA (details there) to form ABA.

Silver Polish coin (no, I mean a Polish coin made of silver). Seems to be out of circulation now. In 1813 or so, according to Pantologia, it was worth about one (English) shilling.

Spanish, `open.' To be specific, it is one of the singular forms that occurs in the conjugation of the verb abrir (`to open'). For example, English ``that he open it'' would be translated ``que lo abra,'' and the command ``open the cadaver'' (whatever that might mean) becomes ``abra el cadáver.'' (That's the ``polite'' form.) It makes ``abracadabra'' oddly suggestive the first time one hears it. One might also think of ``abra cada brama'' (`open each rutting season' as a command rather than the sort of thing you would put as a sign at your campgrounds), but accentual stress falls on the first syllable of each of these three Spanish words. Of course, to most Spanish speakers the English word abracadabra mostly just evokes the word that has the same meaning in Spanish (written abracadabra) (also).

A near homonym of abra is habrá (the only phonemic difference is that the stress falls on the first syllable in the first word and the second syllable in the second word). Habrá is a form of the verb haber, and means, in certain contexts, `there will be' or `will have to.'

Spanish noun for any of various sorts of opening (bay, dale, fissure, window pane) not described as an apertura.

There used to be a duplicate entry here, inserted by accident. In order, however, to avoid wasting your precious time, we have ruthlessly removed it.

According to the Pantologia (London, 1813),
a magical word, recommended by Serenus Samonicuss as an antidote against agues and several other diseases. It was to be written upon a piece of paper as many times as the word contains letters, omitting the last letter of the former every time, and then suspended about the neck by a linen thread. Abracadabra was the name of the a god worshipped by the Syrians.

Thank God we've gotten away from all that nonsense!


Abrams, Elliot
A WBEN weather reporter. Who did you think?

Actually, I've been away from Buffalo, and I've heard his name in Pittsburgh and around Ohio. Someone ought to look into this.

[Later:] It turns out that he provides weather reports for many different radio stations. His hardest job is keeping straight which personality he's supposed to use with which station.

`April,' in Spanish and Portuguese.

The name of a Brazilian publisher. Verily clever. The cover of its magazine Veja has a small block of text in the upper right, with ABRIL in all-caps and the date in lower case (same font).

ABdominal muscleS. They can be as tight as a drum, but the spare tire is stored on top, so you'd never know. To show them off you have to lose fat. To lose weight without loss of muscle mass, make sure you get enough dietary chromium (say 200 mcg/day) in a form that is biologically available (as the chelate: chromium picolinate).

Absender. German for `sender.' Or `sender-offer' if you prefer. Cf. Abg.

abs, abs.
ABSolute. Generally contrasted with relative, or scaled, or normalized.... One less obvious and fortunately obsolete usage was associated with the old cgs unit systems, and is described at the ab- entry.

ABSolute[ly]. A grammatical term referring to modifiers (adjectives and adverbs). The absolute form of a modifier is the ordinary or noncomparative form, it states a property without indicating a comparison or degree. In English and other Germanic languages, the absolute form is contrasted with comparative (comp.) and superlative (superl.) forms. For example:
red (abs.),
redder or more red (comparative form),
reddest or most red (superlative form).

In prescriptive or ``school'' grammars, the absolute form of a modifier is more commonly called the positive form. In the literature of linguistics, positive and absolute are probably used to a comparable degree.

An absolute adjective is one that has no -- or logically should have no -- comparative forms. Dead is a pretty good example. One can get into arguments about this, but they rapidly get philosophical. Whether an adjective is absolute or not is a question of the assumptions underlying its semantics. These may not be shared, and one can question them, but we all recognize the humor or oddity of characterizing a woman as less pregnant or a quartet as fourer. Absolute adjectives are rarely called positive adjectives.

One of the more irritating semantic abuses is the description of some item being hawked as ``very unique.'' In principle, one could argue that uniqueness is not an either-or thing, that unique is not an absolute adjective but rather describes a quality more like unusualness. But we already have the word unusual, and the salesman doesn't want to use it. He recognizes that ``unique'' is a more powerful word, indicating something beyond merely unusual. Even that advertising whore has an inchoate sense that unique is an absolute adjective. (Give that man an ADDY.) His promiscuous, meretricious use of the word in a superlative form abases it, churning the vocabulary hierarchy and forcing us to establish new words for him to abase.

Grammatical rules are a bit like poetic scansion. Perfect meter in poetry, and perfect adherence to grammatical rules in prose, can become tired. A little deviation is spicy. But it is spicy only because the frame of order is present to play off of. It is a good thing occasionally to form the comparative or superlative of an absolute adjective. If you break the rule systematically, however, you find little joy left in the breaking, and the language poorer.

ABS, abs
ABSolute value. Common name for absolute value function, in computing and sometimes in mathematics [where |.| is more common than abs(.) is]. In computer programming languages ``abs'' may also be used for the modulus of a complex number.

One can compute the maximum function from the absolute value function and vice versa. For two real numbers r and s:

abs(r) = max(-r,r) .
max(r,s) = [ r + s + abs(r-s) ] / 2 .

Maximum functions of more arguments can be generated by successive comparisons from maximum functions of fewer arguments, using the fact that

max(r1, ..., rN, rN+1) = max( max(r1, ..., rN) , rN+1) .

Equivalent statements apply for the minimum function, since

min(r1, ..., rN) = - max(-r1, ..., -rN) .

Acrylonitrile/Butadiene/Styrene copolymer (a ``terpolymer''). Often described as ``high-impact.'' CycolacGE) is one. San Diego Plastics, Inc. has a short page of information on ABS.

Compare AAS.

AlkylBenzene Sulfonate.

Alternate Billing Service.

American Back Society. Passing by on my way to write another glossary entry, I'm a bit surprised I didn't make some remark about this entry when I first put it in.

American Bible Society. Offices at 1865 Broadway, sin city.

American Board of Sexology.

Alice Cooper's lyrics run through my mind -- ``I wanna be elected!''

American Board of Surgery.

Animal Behavior Society. ``The purpose of this society is to promote and encourage the biological study of animal behavior in the broadest sense, including studies at all levels of organization using both descriptive and experimental methods under natural and controlled conditions.'' I suppose anthropology should be a subfield.

Antilock Braking System. It sometimes occurs in the AAPleonastic form ``ABS Braking System'' (likewise in the language-disguised form ``sistema frenante ABS'' in Italian and Spanish). A much more common acronym AAP is ``ABS System,'' which has the advantage of also being redundant when ABS takes the German expansion ``Anti-Blockier-System.'' ABS operates by sensing a skid (one wheel turning much more slowly than others) and releasing the brake momentarily to reestablish traction. This all happens repeatedly, on a tenth-of-a-second time scale. It demonstrably improves braking on slippery surfaces, and so in principle it ought to reduce accident rates. However, early data fail to show this; it's a mystery why. One hypothesis is that people get overconfident. I have to admit that I have sensed a tendency on my own part to go a little faster on slippery surfaces and rely a little on the ABS. But I realize now that that is quite wrong. I don't have to admit it. I'll take moral hazards over road hazards any day.

Allied Signal Corporation, based in Morristown, NJ, started talks with ABS manufacturer Bosch of Germany in Fall 1995, in hopes of collaborating to improve the performance of its brake division, which manufactured ordinary brakes. They ended up selling the division to Bosch.

Allied has facilities in the Buffalo area, but that's not where it's at; Allied had the brake stuff from the former Bendix Corporation. (You know: George Schultz's old company; you remember George Schultz -- one of Reagan's Secretaries of State? One who didn't say ``I'm in control here''?) Anyway, Bendix used to be a big presence in the South Bend area -- there's even a local ``Bendix Woods'' county park. At the end of Bendix Road, just north of the Amtrak station, there's an empty shell of a building that used to house the brake factory. Bosch uses some of the building for office space. Tim -- he lived upstairs from me -- works there. He's a mechanical engineer (MechE).

I guess you really didn't need to know about Bendix Woods, huh?

A rare alternative expansion of ABS is ``automatic braking system,'' but it's best to leave that for the rail and air transport braking systems, which are not antilock systems.

Artificial Biosynthesis of Sugar.

Average Busy Stream.

Association for the Behavioral Sciences and Medical Education.

[phone icon]

Average Busy Season Busy Hour.

Traditionally, Mother's Day has the heaviest phone traffic of the year.

A Bore that Should Cease Is Stupid, Silly Acronyms. This acronym was coined by Bob Cunningham as an expression of contempt for contrived acronyms; he mentioned it on a.u.e on August 27, 2003. The acronym's expansion is useful as a mnemonic for the spelling of abscissa. This also works with the more natural-sounding silly-stupid order.

This entry is here because I can never remember how to spell abscissa.

American Board of Sleep Medicine.

absolute zero (of temperature)
The following explanation of absolute zero and zero-point energy is slightly modified from one dashed off with the intention of being comprehensible by a high-school graduate. I am informed that I overshot the target level. FWIW...

Zero temperature and zero-point energy are related concepts, but the first can be described independently of the second.

Briefly: a system is said to be at absolute zero temperature when all possible energy has been sucked out of it.

Classically (i.e., within a classical physics/classical mechanics description), you expect that you could always extract all the kinetic energy from a system and leave it at minimum potential energy. Quantum mechanically, we know that's not true. Zero-point energy is the classically unexpected minimum energy, or minimum kinetic energy.

You can see zero-point energy as a consequence of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. For simplicity we consider a system that consists of a single particle in a potential well, but the argument generalizes (see STAFF for a less ordinary instance of the same concepts). Suppose you did manage to remove all the kinetic energy from a system. Then the momentum would be known exactly (it would have to be zero). But if the potential energy has a minimum at a particular point (the usual situation except in vacuum or symmetric situations) then the position at absolute zero would be known exactly too -- the particle would be exactly at the place where the potential is minimum. So if you could remove all the energy, you would know both position and momentum exactly. This violates the uncertainty principle, so the tentative assumption is wrong. Conclusion: you cannot remove all the kinetic energy from a system. This argument can be quantified to give estimates of the zero point energy that are good to exact.

To understand all the energy in macroscopic systems, you have to use thermodynamics or statistics, because there are too many (microscopic) degrees of freedom. The only exception is zero temperature, when there is so little energy that the number of accessible states (talking QM, of course) is small. So certain calculations that don't involve statistical ensembles (explicitly as stat mech or implicitly as thermo) are said to be done at ``zero temperature,'' even though nonzero temperature only makes strict sense as a concept if you do have thermal ensembles.

Calculating the ground state energy of a hydrogen atom is an ordinary non-statistical quantum mechanics problem. When you recognize that mechanics is zero-temperature statistical mechanics (as partly explained in the previous paragraph), you realize that the ground-state energy of an atom is its "zero-point energy." Here is a mathematical problem to avoid discussing. I said earlier that the sero-point energy is the minimum [QM-attainable] energy or the minimum kinetic energy. For a classical atom, the minimum energy is minus infinity (atoms are classically unstable -- they collapse), so the zero-point energy, measured from the classical minimum, is positive infinity. So "zero-point" energy is not always well-defined. If you stick to systems that are classically stable, like springs or phonons, you can say zero-point energy is kinetic energy. When QM is the reason for a classical system to be stable at all, z.p. isn't k.e.

Association of British Scrabble Players.

Absurdity is in the details.

A bald absurdity is just an error. A detailed absurdity is Humor.

Also in the details: God, the devil.

Saint Augustine wrote, `I believe because it is absurd.'

Many churches provide weekly messages of spiritual uplift on their outdoor marquee billboards. It is reliably and corroborably reported that some time before the millennium, a church marquee in Nashville proclaimed the following consolation:


Advanced Backplane Technology.

Advanced BiCMOS Technology.

Air-Breathing Threat. Jets and cruise missiles, as opposed to ballistic missiles (rockets).

American Ballet Theatre.

The Aramaic Bible (The Targums).

According to a 2006 article in Travel Weekly (iss. 1810: March 3, p. 15), a spokesman defending the ``existing structure'' said ``ABTA has always been a broad church.'' Yes, yes, but what church precisely? Oh: Association of British Travel Agents. All right, then; I guess they specialize in pilgrimages.

Australian Baton Twirling Association. ``Twirling Australia.'' Gee, with the Coriolis forces changed around, it must be pretty tough to switch hemispheres! Associated with the WBTF.

Advanced BiCMOS Technology / Enhanced Transceiver Logic.

Associated Baton Twirlers of the United Kingdom. For similar organizations, see the majorette entry.

Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union.

Abu Amar
Yassir Arafat's nom de guerre. Amar is Spanish: `to love.' I don't think that's what it means in Arabic.

Alcohol [percentage] By Volume. Expanded in speech, 46ABV is ``46 per cent alcohol by volume,'' often with per cent or alcohol implicit. In clean-fun-loving Utah, a beverage with more than 4% ABV (that's just 3.2% ABW) qualifies as ``liquor.'' Utah is only 62.1% Mormon, and probably not all Mormons are srict teetotalers, so perhaps Utah has the highest rate of locally-defined ``liquor'' consumption in the US.

Utah is the US state with the lowest per capita alcohol consumption. In April 2014, the NIAAA released estimates based on 2012 alcoholic beverage sales (I suspect they didn't correct for state-border-crossing rum cakes), and Utah was at 1.37 gallons (per year, I guess). The next lowest-imbibing states were Arkansas and West Virginia (1.81 gal.). Hmmm. This sounds like it was based on excise tax collected.

American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, Inc.

Audit Bureau of Verification Services.

American Board of Veterinary Toxicology. I understand that some dogs can eat a little bit of chocolate.

Alcohol By Weight.

American Business Women's Association. (I checked and yeah, "businesswoman" is much more common than the spelling with a space or hyphen. Please let me know if you can think of any even less useful information that I might include in this entry.)

Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (BWR). Expresso!


Guide to internet resources on the ancient Near East. They sort of explain what abzu, an Assyrian or Sumerian word, means. I bet they don't even know themselves. Now Abzu (in existence since 1994) seems to be ``ETANA's guide to the ancient Near East on-line.'' (ETANA has been in existence since about 2000.) Who pays the piper calls the tune.

(Domain code for) ACademic institution. Used under national domains that are organized hierarchically both under the British (.uk) scheme (second-level domains a mix of two- and three-letter abbreviations: .ac., .co., .gov., .net., .org. -- it's so English to be unsystematic) and under the Japanese (.jp) scheme (.ac., .co., .go., .ne., .or. -- it's so Japanese to be systematically obscure).

I'm aware that .ac. is used (in addition to the U.K. and Japan) in Austria (.at), Belgium (.be), Costa Rica (.cr), Israel (.il, South Korea (.kr), New Zealand (.nz), and South Africa (.za).

Under national domains that don't have an .ac. second-level domain, like those of France (.fr) and Germany (.de), universities very often have domain names indicating the type of institution.

Most US universities, and a number of non-US universities, have subdomains in the .edu top-level domain.

Access Control. (In a token-ring system or any other network with some kind of collision avoidance.)


ACet{ ate | ic | yl }. Productive, as in AcOEt (ethyl acetate) or PVAc (polyvinyl acetate).

Acromio-Clavicular (joint).

Actinium, element number 89. Not to be confused with the related An (a generic actinide) or unrelated Ac (acetate, etc.) Learn more (about actinium) at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Activated Carbon. Not ``activated'' in the Arrhenius sense.

ACts of the Apostles. An NT book.

ACute. Medical abbreviation for a word that as used means approximately rapid and not chronic. Nothing to do with a cute anything. More closely related to ack.

The conventional sense of acute is broader, and includes extreme, or severe.

Adenylate Cyclase.

Adult Contemporary. A music category tracked by BillBoard. Somewhat slow -- music and popularity shifts both. For a song to stay six months at #1 on the AC chart is not unusual. Savage Garden had its hit (``Truly Madly Deeply'') at #1 for most of 1998. For contemporary adults who understand that lay is the infinitive of a transitive verb, 1998 was a galling year.

Advanced CMOS (logic family). Also ACL. One-micron technology. Cf. ACT. This page from TI.

AirCraft. That's what it means in aviation industries, but there seem to be other meanings as well.

Air Conditioning. (The target condition is cooler.) Another short form of this term is eakon, the Japanese word meaning the same thing. See perm for a small number of other examples.

AC, ac, A.C., a.c., A.-C., a.-c.
Alternating Current. For information on the various abbreviations, see the DC entry.


AC, a.c.
Ante Cibum. Latin, `before meal.' Lower-case form is standard in medical prescriptions.

Antes de Cristo. Spanish and Portuguese, `before Christ' (B.C.). Italian is similar. Cf. D.C.

Anthony and Cleopatra. It ended badly, but eventually Shakespeare made a play about it, so it's okay. The abbreviation usually refers to the play, at least in the sort of stuff I read.

Application Context.


You know, this looks like a somewhat slow-news part of the glossary, so I'm going to take the opportunity to lay out our grand plan. Briefly, our long-term objective is to reach the point where every entry is necessary for every other entry -- i.e., every entry is reachable by a sequence of links from any other entry. Just think how convenient it will be! With just a few thousand mouseclicks, you'll be able to get from any entry to any other entry. Wow and amen. To achieve this vision in a short amount of time, we're going to start inserting a few more links whose relevance is not immediately evident.

A.C., a.c., AC
Asociación Civil. Spanish for `civic organization.' The abbreviation appears at the end of the names of many Mexican nonprofits. It seems to be a part of legal terminology there, a strictly delineated class of nonprofit corporation. I've seen organizations with A.C. or its expansion in the names of one organization each in Argentina, Bolivia, and Venezuela. I suspect that in these cases the term is simply descriptive in the usual loose way and does not have the legal significance it has in Mexico, but that's just a guess.

Assistant Commissioner. Assistant police commissioner, at least.

Automatic Computer. Popular ending on early computer names. See Woz entry for list.

Axiom of Choice.

As you may have noticed, none of the AC entries is for a word as such, but rather for an abbreviation pronounced as an initialism (typically ``ay cee'') or a symbol. Hence, none of them is a valid Scrabble® word. Gratifyingly, all three major Scrabble dictionaries agree. Robert Frost observed that writing blank verse is like playing tennis without a net. Playing Scrabble with all marginally defensible words allowed is similar sport.

Air Care Alliance. ``[A] nationwide league of humanitarian flying organizations whose volunteer pilots are dedicated to community service.''

American Camping Association. Consider spending your Winnebago vacation at Chéticamp, in exotic but not-too-exotic Canada. See the NS entry in particular. Yes, go! Read it. Persistence is rewarded.

American Cartographic Association. Name of an old member organization of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM). Around the turn of this century, the ACA disappeared and a new member organization emerged in its place, called the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS). It had been my impression that as part of this process, the Geographic and Land Information Society also disappeared. Possibly some members of the GLIS switched to the new CaGIS, or perhaps something more interesting happened, but the GLIS persists.

American Chiropractic Association.

American Communication Association. ``American'' in the continental sense -- Western Hemispheric.

American Council on Alcoholism. (Don't let that ``on'' fool ya'. They're agin' it.)

American Counseling Association.

American Crystallographic Association. Web site provided by the Hauptman-Woodward (Medical Research) Institute. (Used to be the Medical Foundation of Buffalo.)

Amputee Coalition of America. ``Our Mission: To reach out to people with limb loss and empower them through education, support, and advocacy.'' Did they have to use the expression ``reach out''? It reminds me of the dating-game parody in ``Kentucky Fried Movie.'' The third contestant ignores the question and instead starts spouting the slogans of the personality cult of the local leader. He's on a roll, it looks like they may let him live, but then he concludes his peroration with a call for the crowd to give their fearless leader (present for the show) ``a big hand.'' The leader lacks a right hand. Oops.

Anisotropically Conductive Adhesive.

Association Canadienne d'Acoustique. The CAA, q.v.

Association of Canadian Advertisers.

Association of Canadian Archivists.

Association of Chartered Accountants. Unh-unh. You want the ACCA.

Atlanta College of Art.


Atlantic Classical Association (of Canada).

Automatic Circuit Assurance. A PBX feature to help identify malfunctioning trunk lines. This is not the usual kind of trunk (vide TCT) but a tie trunk (between two PBX's) or a PBX trunk, which connects the PBX to a commercial central office.

Automobile Club of America.

ACetylACetonate. CH3COCHCOCH3.

Cf. ack-ack.

Association des Cartothèques et Archives Cartographiques du Canada. See ACMLA. Also see ack-ack, because you only go around once in this life, so you've got to grab for all the gusto you...this is beginning to sound like a beer advertisement.

American College of Addictionology and Compulsive Disorders. It's not exactly a ``college'' in any of the usual senses. It's a vendor of courses in continuing education originally taught primarily by Jay M. Holder. ACACD and Holder have earned the attention of Quackwatch. Featured treatments include hammering on your spine and acupuncturing your ear. Linked from their list of schools unaccredited by any credible accreditor, here are ``Some Notes on the Activities and Credentials of Jay M. Holder, D.C..'' Read'em and weep. You might suppose that a barbaric monstrosity of a word like ``addictionology'' would clue people, but ACACD is still in business. As of this writing, they're planning to hold an event in Las Vegas, May 22-25, 2009. If this ``medicine'' doesn't make you sick, see this AAA entry.

American Conference of Academic Deans. (Note that, with very little effort, this could be made into a perfectly irritating little XARA.) ``ACAD members are current and former deans, provosts, academic vice presidents, and other academic [low-lifes and trouble-makers] at colleges and universities inside and outside the US.''

This isn't meant as a criticism, but it's interesting to note that ``inside and outside the US'' is not uninformative. And that's true whether or not ``inside'' and ``outside'' are understood as the mathematical interior of a proper set and its complement (so their boundary in ordinary topologies is a nonempty closed set).

According to Aerosmith's ``Living On The Edge,''

There's somethin' wrong with the world today --
The light bulb's gettin' dim.
There's meltdown in the skah - ah - eye!

Personally, I would have preferred nonsense syllables. I mean -- nonsense syllables that don't sound like they're supposed to mean anything. Nonsense syllables that don't mention Chicken Little. Ideally, it would be an instrumental with or without howling noises. They also state: ``Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah....'' Yeah, well: living in the edge -- now there's a challenge.

In the English-speaking world, this is recogized as a variant of academicism. In Japan, however, academism is the standard term. I'm not sure whether it's wasei eigo or just an accident of some sort.

Anti-Censorship Action Group. A South African NGO merged into FXI in January 1994.

Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Formerly the National Accreditation Commission for Schools and Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NACSCAOM), which was established in June 1982 by the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM).

Aviation Consumer Action Project.

I never thought of myself as a consumer of aviation service. Is this something that might get used up? Get a load of me -- I'm consuming aviation!

In an alternate world, Nick is bouncing the cash drawer in and out. ``Hey, get a load of me! I'm givin' out wings!''

Cash registers were originally invented to make sure the hired help didn't embezzle. The bell was added to make non-use of the register obvious (by silence).

Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System. Somewhat less common (roughly a quarter of the ghits) is the expansion with the singular-form ``communication''; I don't know which -- if precisely one -- is official.

(UK) Arbitration and Conciliation Advisory Service.

Australian Centre for the Arts and Technology.

(US) Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service.

Association of Chartered Accountants in the United States.

Adjusted Cost Base. A precise technical term in Canadian income-tax computation, specifically for computing capital gains amd losses. It's the total cost of an asset, adjusted to uh, in a way so as to, uh... It's the usual impenetrable taxation mess. Here's one mutual fund's futile attempt to show how simple it all really is. Revenue Canada (which isn't called Revenue Canada any more) obfuscates it here.

The expression ``adjusted cost base'' is also used loosely elsewhere for total cost base and average cost base.

American Council for the Blind. Their pages don't have a lot of fancy graphics, I notice.

They claim to be ``the nation's leading membership organization of blind and visually impaired people.'' They also claim that ``[i]t was founded in 1961 and incorporated in the District of Columbia'' as if this was anything I had a hankering to know. People should have a sense of proportion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Association of Clinical Biochemists. It ``was founded in 1953, and is one of the oldest such Associations in the world. Based in the United Kingdom, it is a professional body dedicated to the practice and promotion of clinical science. The Association has medical and non-medical members in all major UK healthcare laboratories, in many university departments and in several commercial companies. The links with its Corporate Members leads to a fruitful relationship with the clinical diagnostics industry. The Association liaises with and is consulted by many national and international organisations on issues relating to Clinical Biochemistry.''

Average[d] Cost Base.

American Contract Bridge League. Main organizer of duplicate bridge clubs and tournaments in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda.


ACBL ``is the governing body for organized bridge activities and promotion on the North American continent'' as far as the WBF sees it. That is, the ACBL is the WBF's zonal organization for zone 2, the second-largest zone, membershipwise, after Europe (vide EBL).

There's a separate organization called the American Bridge Association (ABA). In the bad old days, ACBL was for whites and ABA was for blacks. Both still exist as independent leagues.

Associations Comprehensive Benefits Program.

I found this entry and the next while trying to see if there wasn't a bomber version of the ACFP.

Atlantic City Beach Patrol.

Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. There is a clear pecking order among the three main business-school accreditation organizations in the US, and the order coincides with the alphabetical ordering of their acronyms. AACSB is the most stringent and prestigious, and has granted accreditation to only a fifth or so of US B-schools. AACSB accreditation requires that the faculty perform research, and -- just trust me on this -- this is a requirement that many schools focused particularly on teaching find difficult to meet. (A school's prestige also depends greatly on the original research performed there.) ACBSP (of this entry) is used by ``mid-range'' schools. IACBE also offers accreditation. AACSB and ACBSP, but not IACBE, are CHEA-recognized.

American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians. The name seems to imply that chiropractics are physicians.

ACCommodation. Medical term for what you need, conditional on your spending time at a medical convention. No wait! I think I garbled that. Maybe it's a conventional term for what happens when you spend a long time with a medical condition, and your body adjusts. Like favoring your gimpy leg. One of those definitions is probably right. I'll get back to this entry later.

Accident Compensation Corporation. As this now-empty page used to say, ACC ``administers New Zealand's accident compensation scheme, which provides personal injury cover for all New Zealand citizens, residents and temporary visitors to New Zealand. In return people do not have the right to sue for personal injury, other than for exemplary damages.'' Well, ``in return'' there's that and also the little matter of ``ACC levies.''

Adaptive Cruise Control. Its principal ``feature'' is that it slows down to maintain distance from the vehicle ahead. As the late Dale Earnhardt would have said, ``better soak a rag in kerosene and wrap it around your ankles to keep the ants from eating your candy ass.''

Air Combat Command.

American Crafts Council.

The Animal Concerns Community.

Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

Arab Cooperation Council. Headed by an Egyptian, headquartered in Amman (Jordan). Did Iraq really never stop being a member?

Joyce ACC?

Atlantic Coast Conference. This is the kind of conference where academic institutions present the results of their research in a form of multimedia presentation called ``games.''

Austin Community College.

Australian Copyright Council.

Autoclaved Cellular Concrete.

Automotive Composites Consortium. A consortium within USCAR. Formed in August 1988. It's about polymer composites.

Advisory Committee on Council Activities. A standing committee of the NCEES (that ``Council''). ``Provides advice and briefing to the Board of Directors on new policy issues, problems, and plans that warrant preliminary assessment of policy choices and procedures. Consultants shall have served on the Board of Directors. Consists of a chair and members from each zone--one is a land surveyor.''

Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce of America. Founded in 1919, it became a member of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States (founded 1912). The ACCA served some of the functions, particularly for wartime government-industry coordination, that the MAA served earlier. After WWII, the ACCA changed its name a couple of times, and is now known as the Aerospace Industries Association of America, Inc. (AIA).

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

American Council of Christian Churches.

Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry Malaysia. Cf. MCCM.

American Chamber of Commerce Executives. This is the name that survived the 2003 ``merger'' of the ACCE and the National Association of Membership Directors (NAMD). NAMD became a division of ACCE and was renamed the National Alliance for Membership Development (NAMD).

acceleration pedal
Misspelling of exhilaration pedal.

American Council for Collaboration in Education and Language Study. Sounds so much more two-way and respectfully cooperative than the ``American Council of Teachers of Rooshyan'' (ACTR) that gave rise to it, and to which organization it is closely tied. (They share a website.) Broader implied agenda, too. ACCELS is described as having ``become a leader among all U.S. organizations in the administration of U.S. government-funded exchanges in the humanities, social sciences, economics, business, law, public administration, and educational administration.''

Oh great: in 1998 there was a reorganization. ACTR and ACCELS became councils under an umbrella organization called ``American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS.'' Frequent name changes and the creation of multiple sealed acronyms (or names that, confusingly, may or may not be sealed acronyms) are usually a sign of poor planning or at least poor branding, but the group claims here that it's a sign of success. During this period of great success, Russian has maintained US high-school student enrollments in the range of 10 to 15 thousand. (Due to a surge in Japanese language study, Russian fell from sixth-most-studied foreign language in US high schools to seventh.)

Here is a supply of accents:
Acute: ´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´
Grave: ```````````````````````````
Unsorted: ´`´``´```````´°´´```´"´``´`
In case of emergency, smash screen and affix as needed.

Vietnamese has upwards of forty (40) (!) distinguishable vowels. You better believe Vietnamese are not always fastidious about accents. Vide VISCII. (Okay: what happens is that the vowels carry diacritical marks to indicate tone. I think it's fair to assign the tone to the vowel. English and German don't have this kind of semantic tone; the tone is used quasisyntactically to indicate questions or assign emphasis. Both languages have about 14 vowels in the standard dialects.)

Seriously, I find that sometimes (like right now) I'm on a public machine that has been cleverly sabotaged to prevent me from easily entering special characters. For such moments, it's useful to have those characters together to cut and paste from a single place.

For Spanish, I need
¡ ¿ Á É Í Ó Ú á é í ó ú ü ª º Ñ ñ
Maybe this will turn out to be more convenient over time:
1ª 2º Ñañ güe ación

Ä Ö Ü ä ö ü ß

Japanese transcribed to Romaji:
â î û ô ê

An old form of the word acceptation. In both forms, the word refers to meanings: acception is either the action or practice of accepting a meaning for a word, or a word's accepted meaning. It tends to be implicit that the acception of a word is singular, that all of the accepted senses of a word cohere in some way to a single inclusive sense: definitions of the word invariably refer to ``the meaning'' rather than ``a meaning'' of a word. If Anglophones didn't expect most words to have a single essential meaning, but instead expected multiple unrelated meanings, then the meaning of the words acception and acceptation would probably have evolved into something like that of their Spanish cognate acepción.

I should probably concede that there are a couple of subtle difficulties here: To discuss how many meanings a word has, one has to try to be precise about what constitute distinct meanings, and what constitute distinct words. If one can't answer the first question, one can't say whether a word has multiple meanings. If one can't answer the second question, one can't say whether the different meanings belong to the same word. What is worse, the question of distinguishing meanings complicates discussion here more fundamentally: one could regard English acception and Spanish acepción as having the same meaning, and claim that only the contexts differ. This is probably one of the worst entries in which to ponder this issue, since the words being examined are part of the vocabulary of the discussion. (Philosophers call this ``building a boat at sea.'') When I discuss it, or find a discussion, at some other entry, I'll place a link to that discussion here.

The second difficulty, what one means by the word word, is not so straightforward to address as one might at first suppose. There is some support for views at opposite extremes. For example, different spellings usually imply different words, but some English words have multiple accepted spellings. Moreover, it is accepted to say that the different conjugations of a verb are different forms of a single ``word'' (e.g., eat, eats, ate, eaten, eating). (You guessed right, I'm eating this, I mean writing this, on an empty stomach.)

Back later.

Allied (i.e. NATO) Command CHANnel.

Australian Computing and Communications Institute.

Automated Command and Control Information System.

Oh -- you want the WASC-ACCJC.

Activated Cloud Condensation Nuclei.

Articulating Crane Council of North America. ``[F]ormed to promote and serve the common interests of articulating crane manufacturers in the development and sale of safe, efficient and useful products''; became an NTEA affiliate in fall 1992.

Remember, you can't spell accordion without accord. Just don't mention it to Honda.

Actually, the name accordion is somewhat curious. I would have thought that it was somehow parallel to harmonium. That instrument, invented by Alexandre-François Debain circa 1840, takes its (French and identical English) name from the Latin word harmonia (< Gk. harmonios, `harmonious'). At least one other instrument was, in fact, named on a similar pattern. The melodeon (commoner US usage, based on the inferred Greek original) or melodium (British) takes its name from the French orgue mélodium. The latter term was coined by J. Alexandre, who purchased the right to make harmonium-type instruments from Debain in 1844. Debain stipulated that the name harmonium not be used. These instruments were reed organs (they used air pressure from a foot-operated pump).

There was also a short-lived German Melodium developed by H. Bode and O. Vierling of Berlin. It was a ``monophonic electronic keyboard instrument,'' which I suppose means it played only one pitch at a time and would therefore, have been more appropriate for playing melodies. Bode performed on the instrument on radio and in theatre and films, but in 1941 the parts were apparently cannibalized in work that led to the Melochord.

So back to the accordion. A forerunner of the accordion was invented in 1821 by Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann, and in 1829 the Accordion (also Akkordion) was patented in Vienna by Cyrill Demian (not Debain).

One of the fellow German-Jewish refugees that my mom knew in Argentina back in the 1950's was a fellow who had been a concert pianist in Germany, iirc. A pianist, anyway. He went looking for work as a musical instrument salesman, and a merchant told him there wasn't much demand for pianos, but accordions sold well, and as the accordion was another keyboard instrument, the man wouldn't have any trouble picking it up. He picked up the accordion, and he never looked back.

I presume that the popularity of the accordion in Argentina is bolstered by its importance in music for tango, the national dance. Accordionists play a role in tango orchestras that string bass players do in Chicago jazz: they are required to emote crazily. When Styx performed ``Boat On The River'' for a music video in 1979, both the string bass and accordion players were cool, but then it wasn't jazz.

Accordion music is also important for movies set in France. Accordion background music means the scene is set in France or a nominally French area like the French Quarter of New Orleans. The 2011 movie Hugo was set in 1930's Paris, and has been described as Martin Scorsese's ``tribute'' and ``love letter'' to silent movies, which just goes to show how far ``paean'' has fallen from currency. I don't think there were any accordions audible or visible in the aggressively 3D opening sequence, but it certainly took me in: I was momentarily taken aback when the first words were eventually spoken in English. Perhaps the British accents played a role in this, but it's not easy to rerun the experiment with North American accents. It is needless to say, and I'll say it anyway, that any southern accents (southern US, Indian, Australian) would have been a severe distraction.

A popular word among philosophers. They often write that they want to ``give an account of'' a topic under discussion. I guess a philosophical account is something less than an explanation or even a description, but something that might seem to add up.

Most fields of scholarship generate terminology that helps them to do their work, but in philosophy the work is giving accounts, so the terminologies are largely an end in themselves. Philosophy is about generating and displaying terminologies. Different philosophies use different terminologies that have essentially no points of contact between each other. Every major German Idealist philosopher created his own terminology, and because the terms did not have a clear meaning, if any, they couldn't be translated and had to be borrowed into other languages. This is why so many German philosophical terms are in use in English. Same thing with Greek.

Although I have been encountering the ``give an account of'' locution for years whenever I would venture into the morass (a word with an almost perfect spelling), the particular thing that inspired me to write about philosophical terminology here was Empirical Philosophy of Science: Introducing Qualitative Methods into Philosophy of Science (Springer, 2015). The ``qualitative'' methods of the title are not meant to be contrasted with quantitative methods; they are contrasted with thinkological methods: ``Qualitative methods are gaining popularity among philosophers of science as more and more scholars are resorting to empirical work in their study of scientific pracitices.'' I love that ``resorting'': In desperation because methods not based on observation have failed to give a satisfactory account of how scientific practices are practiced, philosophers have been driven to use other ``methods, such as interviews and field observations.''

In the introduction, the editors don't say, but come as close as one can reasonably expect to saying, that even some philosophers consider a nonempirical approach absurd. All this really means, as the editors also come close to admitting, is that philosophers of science are trying to horn in on the turf of sociologists of science. I suppose that ``scholars of'' will always seem like parasites on ``doers of,'' but this really is beginning to look like an infestation.

Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention.

American College of Chest Physicians.

American College of Clinical Pharmacology.

American College of Clinical Pharmacy.

The Association of AS/400 Corporate Computing Professionals, Inc. An all-volunteer, ``non-profit organization of San Francisco Bay Area professionals'' that wisely omitted the machine name (AS/400) from its organization name, and is now gracefully transitioning to The Association of iSeries Corporate Computing Professionals, Inc. (ACCP).

Adjacent Channel Coupled Power Ratio. Specifically a measure of interference rather than noise.

accrual date
An interest accrual date is the date that interest charges on a loan begin to accrue. Outside of civil suits, the context is usually adequate to allow this to be called simply an accrual date. In torts, the accrual date is the date of the action or event causing the injury for which a claim is brought. (``Injury'' is used in the technical sense -- encompassing personal injury, loss, damage, etc. for which claimant seeks to recover damages.)

Air Command and Control System. (NATO acronym.)

Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. It must have seemed a clever acronym at some point, but the website only uses ``the Academy'' (and ``l'Académie'').


Association of C and C++ Users. ``...a non-commercial organisation based in the United Kingdom [so book prices are in the exotic unit of pounds; then again, that's how many of us measure the value of books] and run by people interested in the C family of programming languages.''

accuracy enhancement
This is a term occasionally encountered in the field of microwave measurements. It's an accurate-enough but nevertheless offensive synonym for ``calibration.'' (The instrument calibrated is a network analyzer.)

accused of allegedly
Accused of. People with an uncertain grasp of their language might think that since words have meaning, more words have more meaning, so pile it on! Then again, maybe they don't think. In fact, when redundant or inappropriate qualification is added to an expression that is accurate without it, the fact of the qualification typically adds only information about the speaker or writer, rather than about the subject described. And the information is not good.

In this instance, moreover, the more verbose version is generally wrong. People are not generally accused of allegedly doing anything. Cf. high rate of speed.

[phone icon]

Automatic Call Distribut{ion | or}. Please hold. Calls are answered in the order received. (``Your call will be answered in the order that it was received.'')

Arms Control and Disarmament Agency of the US government. The ACDA was established by an act of Congress of September 26, 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2561); it became part of the State Department on April Fool's Day of 1999. An archive of the old ACDA site formerly located at <http://www.acda.gov> is now maintained as part of the Electronic Research Collections (ERC) of historic State Department materials by the federal depository library at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In the Clinton administration, the former ACDA came under the policy oversight of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, its activities split among four bureaus: Arms Control, Nonproliferation, Political-Military Affairs, Verification and Compliance. The State Department maintains ``a permanent electronic archive of information released prior to'' dubya's inauguration. The current (April 2003) page for that Under Secretary seems to imply that the Bureau of Verification and Compliance reports to the Under Secretary but is not under that official's policy oversight. (This probably reflects its intended independence as the source of reports to Congress, including the ``President's Annual Report to Congress on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control Agreements.'')

A Rock group. This site has lyrics to some of the songs.

The editorial we used to use the expression ``AC/DC'' to mean `swing[s] both ways.' We meant ``swing'' in a highly specific way.

AC/DC can also refer to the standard alternatives in electric power: alternating and direct current (AC and DC, resp.). In Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and probably quite a few other Romance languages, AC/DC suggests the standard alternatives in dating, but not swinging.

Accelerated College Enrollment. Thanks to the Huskins Bill, North Carolina community colleges can offer ``college courses'' to high school students, usually on their high school campuses. SCC, for example, offers Precal Algebra and Precal Trig to high school juniors and seniors.

This is brilliant! Given that community colleges award ``college credit'' for what is essentially remedial education in high school subjects, why not begin remediation before it's necessary?

The next bright idea: cut out the junior-college middleman! Allow high schools, usually on their own high school campuses, to offer HS-level courses to high school students! Brilliantissimo!

Accumulated Cyclone Energy. The ACE index is normally described as ``a wind energy index.'' It is defined as the sum of the squares of the estimated 6-hourly maximum sustained surface wind speed (in knots) for all named systems while they are at least of tropical-storm strength. If the overall velocity profile of any storm scales approximately linearly with the maximum sustained surface wind speed, then the ACE index ought to scale approximately with the total kinetic energy of the cyclones. The ACE index is normally stated not in square knot units (I had to write that) but as a percentage of its median value.

Advanced Certificate in Education.

Advanced Composition Explorer. A space mission, not some atonal composer.

Advanced Computing Environment. Same as obsolete computing environment, in a couple of years.

Alliance for Catholic Education. Established in 1994. You think that just because I get brochures about this in my mailbox, I'm gonna type stuff in? You got another think comin'.

Alliance for Clinical Education. Self-described as a ``multidisciplinary group formed in 1992 to enhance clinical instruction of medical students.''

Allied (i.e. NATO) Command Europe.

American Council on Education. Holds its annual meeting in February.

ACE develops the GED tests, which allow someone to demonstrate high-school-level academic proficiency. They were originally created by ACE for the United States Armed Forces Institute, to help WWII veterans, but are now used very widely.

American Council on Exercise. Some of these ACE's must cross paths occasionally. This ACE, like ACSM, certifies trainers.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme. A naturally-occurring enzyme. There is a class of drugs called ACE inhibitors, which inhibit the action of ACE. ACE inhibitors are used to treat a variety of conditions, but mainly high blood pressure and other heart-related problems such as congestive heart failure (CHF). ACE is sometimes misexpanded as ``angiotension-converting enzyme.'' Stick with the acronym if, like me, you barely know what you're talkiong about.

Antiradiation Missile Countermeasure Evaluation.

Award for Cable[casting] Excellence. Explained at the CableACE Awards entry, you'll be sorry to know.

Association des Constructeurs Européens d'Automobiles. `European Automobile Manufacturers Association.'

American Consulting Engineers Council. Changed its name to become the ACEC.

American Council of Engineering Companies. Self-described as ``the only national organization devoted exclusively to the business and advocacy interests of engineering companies.'' Offices in Washington, D.C. The same organization is still often referred to as the American Consulting Engineers Council. I haven't been able to track down a press release or announcement of the name change, but on the basis of newspaper citations, the Consulting-Engineers name has been in use since at least the 1970's, and the Engineering-Companies name was first used not much earlier than June 2001.

Associazione Cattolica Esercenti Cinema. Italian, `association of [Roman] Catholic film practitioners.' In June they hold a ceremony bestowing leone d'oro (`golden lion') awards.

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Accrediting Commission on Education for Health Services Administration. The link anchored here on the expansion is hardly under construction yet (in May 2006), though the domain name has been owned by ACEHSA for many years. Try this site for some institutional history.

I don't know what this stands for, but perhaps by a further thoughtful perusal of this document, you may be able to figure it out.

ACE inhibitor
A drug that lowers blood pressure by inhibiting the action of ACE. Demonstrated to prevent or slow the progression of kidney disease in diabetics.

Association Canadienne des Étudiants et des Internes en Pharmacie. English: CAPSI.

A surprising Spanish word. All the major Romance languages have words derived from the Latin verb acere, `to taste sour.' Spanish does too (generally via French): ácido is `acid' and `sour,' acérbico is `acerbic,' acre is `acrid,' vinagre is `vinegar,' etc. (For more etymological details, see the acetic acid entry.)

The surprising thing is that aceite, which also refers to a fluid added to salad, is not related to those words. Aceite (like azeite in Portuguese) means `oil' and `olive oil.' Besides Spanish and Portuguese, most major Romance languages take their word for oil from Latin oleum. This root gave rise, mostly through French, to the English words oil and olive, and hence to olive oil (and, for that matter, the name Olive Oyl). The systematic chemical suffixes -ol and -ole arose from the fact that, before there was any clear understanding of microscopic chemical structure, virtually any fluid other than water was liable to be called an ``oil.'' Old Spanish had the word olio, meaning `[olive] oil,' but it probably would have evolved into a near homophone of ojo (`eye') in Modern Spanish. Spanish got aceite from the Arabic word zaite. (The initial a- presumably represents the Arabic definite article al.) Spanish also has the words oliva and olivo for the olive (fruit of the olive tree) and the olive tree, respectively. For the fruit, however, the word aceituna is much more common than oliva, while for the tree, olivo is the standard word.

Association for Childhood Education International of Western New York.

This is a key word in Spanish, exactly the sort of exception that proves a rule. The word can be translated `sense,' but the only thing that an acepción is ever the sense of is a word, and it is more precisely translated as `distinct meaning.' In writing this glossary I often write sense and wish I could use the sharper tool of a word like acepción. I'd even be willing to get out in front and introduce an appropriately spelled version of the word into English, but it has seemed too late, or too early: an old word acception (q.v.) already exists with a closely similar but crucially different meaning.

The main thing that one can say about acepeciones in Spanish (as opposed to what one can say, as above, about the word acepción itself) is that typically, Spanish words have a lot of them. I have fun with this at various parts of the glossary. (See ABRA, for example.) It seems natural to me that Spanish would have a word like acepción -- it's needed. Moreover, appropriately, the word acepción has only una acepción.

acento gráfico
Accentuation is a prominent aspect of Spanish orthography. Acute accents are used primarily to indicate stress. There are simple rules that determine where the stress should normally occur if not explicitly noted (on the penultimate syllable if the word ends in a vowel or the letter n or s; on the last syllable otherwise). Hence, the accent is only marked if the stress falls elsewhere than the rule would indicate, to distinguish homonyms with stress that follows the rule, and in a very few other instances. In order to distinguish stress from the mark indicating it, the two are usually called acento gráfico and acento prosódico.

Advisory Committee on Environmental Resources.

American CERamic Society.

Applied Computational Electromagnetics Society.

acetal plastic
Polyacetal (ACL).

acetate plastic
PolyVinylAcetate. (Abbreviated PVA or PVAc).

acetic acid
Active ingredient in vinegar. Created from alcohol by our friends, the acetobacter bacteria. For most of human history, vinegar was the strongest acid known.

The term ``acetic acid'' is about as etymologically redundant as it sounds. The Latin verb acere, `to taste sour,' yielded the word acetum, `vinegar.' It also yielded an adjective acidus > French acide, meaning `sour.' The word vinegar itself comes from the Old French vyn egre, from the Latin vinum, `wine,' and acrem, accusative of acer, `sharp.' (Never mind those final ems. They were already being elided in Late Latin. Obviously, the same colection of acer words yielded the English words acerbic and acrid. The Old French egre or aigre yielded the English eager, now applied to persons, with a somewhat different sense than the original French word. The word keen is not quite capacious enough to cover the earlier and current senses of eager, when applied to living beings, but the way a knife can have a keen edge suggests the connection between sharpness and the current meaning of eager.)

All three major Scrabble dictionaries accept acetum and its nominative plural aceta. The OSPD4 explains that it means `vinegar.' Sure -- in Latin. Even the OED doesn't list acetum as an English word. Look, as long as we're going down this road, can't I use the genitive singular aceti?

The radical CH3CO derived from acetic acid by the removal of its hydroxyl group (cf. acyl):
                      H C
                       3 \
                           C == O

acetylsalicylic acid
2-acetyloxybenzoic acid. Aspirin.

Access Control Field. (DQDB acronym.)

Access Coordination Function.

Administration for Children and Families. A component of the US DHHS.

Advanced Communication Function. IBM acronym meaning: ``Yes! Your hopelessly old-fashioned host-centric legacy system can learn new tricks! Keep it, and soon you'll have to be buying year-2000 solutions from us too!''

Advanced Communication Function/ Network Control Program (NCP)
Advanced Communication Function/ TeleCommunications Access Method
Advanced Communication Function/ Virtual Terminal Access Method (VTAM)

American Culinary Federation.

AutoCorrelation Function.

L'Association canadienne-française pour l'avancement des sciences. (`French Canadian Association for the Advancement of Science.')

Association of Christian Fighter Pilots.

There was a Wrangler Jeans commercial on TV during 2001 that sounded a patriotic theme. Music accompanied the words ``Some folks are born, made to wave the flag / Ooooh -- they're red, white, and blue.'' Those are the opening lines of ``Fortunate Son,'' a Vietnam-era protest song by CCR. The song continues ``And when the band plays `Hail To The Chief,' / Ooooh, they point the cannon at you.'' It's not the celebratory patriotic song that it starts out sounding like. Perhaps ACFP might have considered using a carefully edited version of ``Sky Pilot'' in the same, uh, spirit: ``You're soldiers of god, you must understand / The fate of your country is in your young hands.'' As it happens, ACFP has its own theme song -- ``Brothers In Arms.''

I love this stuff, because Jesus is Love. Incidentally, the last line of ``Sky Pilot'' goes ``Remember the words `thou shalt not kill'.'' This is not a precise translation. Both of the Hebrew versions (at Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17) use a word that should be (and elsewhere in the Bible usually is) translated `murder.' The wording of the KJV repeats that of the Coverdale Bishops' Bible of 1535. Coverdale didn't know Hebrew, so this is probably an English translation of Luther's German translation (which at both places uses töten, `kill') or borrowed from one of Coverdale's friends, such as Tyndale. In any case, the prescription of capital punishments elsewhere in the Bible makes clear that not all killing is proscribed.

The words kill and murder had pretty much the same semantic ranges in Elizabethan English (``Early Modern English'') as they do today. Besides fealty to the original, however, another goal of the KJV creators was to preserve English that had become familiar. (The same motive probably explains why kill has continued to be used in some of the repackagings of the KJV -- like the ASV -- that have been marketed as ``new translations.'') Certainly, they understood the plain meaning of the original text, and might have changed the wording if it had occurred to them that anyone might be confused. At the time, however, a Christian would no more have supposed the commandment to forbid any killing of humans than to forbid killing of any animals. It was a question of how much of what might be implicit needed to be in the translation. I doubt that anyone before the twentieth century seriously suggested that the commandment was meant to forbid all killing of humans. That interpretation is only possible for those who are thoroughly ignorant of the Bible.

Association for Corporate Growth. You figure it's yet another consulting outfit, but it turns out to be a nonprofit.

American Corn Growers Association. ``The American Corn Growers Association is America's leading progressive commodity association, representing the interests of thousands of corn producers in 28 states. Since it's [ah -- I knew there had to be an apostrophe mark around here somewhere!] inception in 1987, the ACGA has worked tirelessly to protect farm income and rural communities. The ACGA recognizes that farmers need to have the opportunity to be rewarded for their time, investment and risk.''

Association for Clay and Glass Artists of California. Not abbreviated ACGAC. The closer you look, the smaller it looks. It's really mostly a San Francisco Bay Area group. Perhaps they have territorial ambitions, in the grand tradition of the ``Continental Army'' of the united states of the mid-Atlantic seaboard of North America.

Accreditation Council for Gynecologic Endoscopy, Inc.

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, Inc. No, not ``Government and.'' Originally, the organization was for government personnel involved in industrial hygiene. Now membership is open to ``all practitioners in industrial hygiene, occupational health, environmental health, or safety.'' It was originally called the NCGIH (National ...). The name was changed in 1946. I guess they only change their name when necessary. Cf. AIHA.

Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

American College of General Practitioners in Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery. Old name of ACOFP, q.v.

Association des Chirurgiens Généraux du Québec. French: `Québec Association of General Surgeons.' Now known as l'Association québécoise de Chirurgie. Along with the name change there was also a change of acronym and URL.

Association des cadres du gouvernement du Québec. This might be translated `Québec Association of Government Officials.' I don't know if there is an official (or officials') translation.

Ach, ACh
AcetylCHoline. Important neurotransmitter.

AdrenoCortical Hormone.

German interjection meaning `ah' or `aw.'

A few centuries ago the pronunciation of Ach could have been rendered agh in English, but agh! now means something more like aieeee or ack.

In real life, precision is often impossible in principle.

Air Changes per Hour. A measure of ventilation. If a pollutant (or perfume, for that matter -- if there's a difference) enters the interior environment at some rate R per hour, and the ACH is n, then the interior environment continually harbors an amount R/n of whatever-it-is, which for a moment we'll regard as a solute.

Strictly speaking, the R/n statement above is true only under the assumption of strong mixing. That is, it is assumed that the solute is uniformly dispersed in the interior environment, so air exhausted contains a concentration equal to the average concentration in the interior. It also assumes that there are no other sinks for the solute. A sink could be a loss of solute through reaction, precipitation, condensation, or adsorption to solid surfaces. If it's not a solute -- if it's in suspension rather than solution, then technically it could not come out of solution, which is what ``precipitate'' normally means in technical non-meteorological usage. We could say it might settle out.

Association for Computers and the Humanities. An international professional organization for people working in computer-aided research in literature and language studies, history, philosophy, and other humanities disciplines, and especially research involving the manipulation and analysis of textual materials.

In 1998 ACH had a joint conference in Hungary with ALLC. In 2001 they have one at New York University with ALLC. This is part of a pattern described at the ALLC entry.

Automated ClearingHouse. A network that provides electronic funds transfer services.

American College of Hospital Administrators. Now known by the superior acronym ACHE.

In Spanish, there is no word spelled acha, but hacha, q.v., has the same pronunciation.


American College of Healthcare Executives. Oh, Bravo! Bravo! Very clever. An acronym so good it hurts.

What I want to know is whether this rhymes with FACHE® (Fellow of the ACHE). An ACHE Diplomate is a Certified Healthcare Executive, or CHE®.

ACHE was earlier known as the American College of Hospital Administrators.

Advanced Course in Hardware Retailing. ``Knowledgeable employees increase sales!''

What a plausible concept! For details, simply become an NRHA member.

After Clean Inspection.

American Concrete Institute.

L'Agence canadienne d'inspection des aliments. As you realize if you read French, that means `agency for the ailments of the Canadian woman inspector Des.' Des is obviously the French form of the English woman's name Desiree. ACIA in English is CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency).

Asynchronous Communications Interface Adapter. A UART. An example is the 6850 communications chip used by the MC68000.

Automated Calibration Internal Analysis System.


Augusta County Institute for Classical Studies. ``[B]ased in Virginia's beautiful Shenandoah Valley,'' it is ``a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge of the ancient Greco-Roman world on the elementary school level.''

This reminds me of Disraeli's infamous comment about his wife.

``The centerpiece of the Institute is its student program, known as LatinSummer. LatinSummer, a summer enrichment program for students in grades three to five, is a joint project of ACICS and Augusta County Public Schools. It is one of the largest of the County's many summer programs. Each year, LatinSummer accepts approximately 100 students from the Augusta County public school system. These students then take part in two weeks of exciting, hands-on classes covering topics such as Mythology, Roman Culture, Classical Latin, and Conversational Latin. The students also participate in an activity period each day, which allows them to delve deeper into Classics through hands-on and critical thinking activities.''

Of course that's not Disraeli's comment. I figured you'd just know that. You didn't? There is more than one version, and possibly more than one is accurate, but in the form I've seen most, Benjamine Disraeli is said to have remarked to a friend after her death that ``She was an admirable creature, but she never knew who came first, the Greeks or the Romans.''

AirCraft IDentification.

A proton donor or, in the Lewis definition, an electron-pair acceptor. Details of the etymology at the acetic acid entry.

In general, acids taste sour. Indeed, European languages typically use the same word for the chemical and gustatory properties. One can translate the first sentence of this paragraph into Spanish as: En general, los ácidos tienen gusto ácido. It detracts a bit from the impressiveness of the insight. Ditto German: Im allgemein, die Säuren schmecken sauer.

But getting back to the point (and ``sharp'' taste is often sourness), the sour taste sense detects chemical acidity, but there is no equivalent taste sense for basicity. Just so you can calibrate your mouth, the pH of lemons is around 2.2, and vinegar is around 2.9. Acid taste is not a perfect measure of acidity, however. For example, apples and grapefruit have comparable acidity (3 to 3.3). Apples taste much less sour because another important factor in determining sour taste is sugar: sweetness masks acidity.

Moreover, if your sausage-and-plantain tastes too sickly sweet, a dash of hot sauce will fix the problem.

American College of Integrated Delivery Systems. Be careful you don't spill that.

American Council of Independent Laboratories. That's what it formerly stood for. They've moved beyond their expansion, and that is now in the category of etymology. I hate that. Most other people don't accept it too well either; they want an organization's name to tell them something about it. Of course, they also don't want an organization's name to change. The only solution if you have a meaningful name is to never change what you do (spin off subsidiaries, if necessary). Another alternative is to use a meaningless name in the first place.

American Center for International Labor Solidarity. See IRI for the low-down.

Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Adjacent Channel Interface Power Ratio.

American Conference for I-wish Studies. Oops, sorry -- Fudd on the brain again. That's Irish Studies. Or, as most natives would hardly know how to say, An Chomhdháil Mheiriceánach do Léann na hÉireann. It's
``a multidisciplinary scholarly organization with approximately 1500 members in the United States, Ireland, Canada and other countries around the world.

Each spring the ACIS holds a national conference attended by 300-400 people from the academic community and the general public. Each fall, meetings are held in the New England, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Western regions; the Southern regional takes place in the winter. [You know, these guys have something on the ball!] The ACIS also sponsors joint sessions with the American Historical Association [What? The Irish have something to do with US history?] and the Modern Language Association at their annual conventions. Both national and regional meetings include plenary speakers, academic sessions in all fields of Irish Studies, poetry and fiction readings, films and performances of Irish music or plays. In recent years the ACIS has met in Boston, Madison, Omaha, and Philadelphia, as well as Dublin, Galway, Belfast and Limerick. ...''

Active little group, aren't they!

``The ACIS was founded in 1960 as the American Committee for Irish Studies [an interesting coincidence]; it is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia as a non-profit organization.''

I'm not sure if ACIS is a singular ``conference'' because it originally had only one (almost) annual meeting (the 38th, in Limerick, was not until 2000) or if it's singular in the same way that the United Synagogue (see USCJ) or the Roman Catholic Church is singular.

Asociación Cristiana de Jóvenes. Spanish, `Christian Association of Youths.' The official name and corresponding initialism of the YMCA in Latin America. However, the YMCA logo is used there, and pronounced as a Spanish acronym. That sounds approximately like ``EEM-kah'' in English.

Interjection expressing distress.

ack, ACK
ACKnowledge. ASCII 06, (CTRL-F), Acknowledgments.

A mass-ack is a mass acknowledgment, typically a newsgroup posting in acknowledgment of the receipt of many emails or email votes.

Slang expansion of Anti-Aircraft fire or Antiaircraft Arms (AA). I thought it was an onomatopoeia for the sound made by some machine guns, but the dictionary agrees with Mark. As a sop, it concedes that the usage was influenced by ``attack,'' so there's a sense in which the term is imitative.

The Philosophical Lexicon edited by Daniel Dennett offers an uncannily similar meaning in philosophical discourse, based on a completely unrelated etymology (Ackerman eponym).

The title of a memoir by General Sir Frederick Pile, G.C.B., D.S.O., M.C., G.O.C.-in-C., Anti-Aircraft Command 1939-45. The book is mostly about ``Britain's defence against air attack during the second world war.''

I read so few books that in order to appear literate, I make a point of discussing extensively in this glossary every book I do read. This one is mentioned at the command entry.

Published works often contain a formal expression of the thanks due to people or institutions who have helped make the publication possible.

In articles for technical journals and conference proceedings, a separate paragraph or two is typical, tucked between the end of the text and the beginning of the list of references, with the section heading ``Acknowledgments.'' This is the place to mention people who participated in ``useful discussions'' but who didn't make the cut as coauthors. It is also a good place to thank any private or public agency that funded or facilitated the research. Acknowledgments in papers are usually brief, but a 1997 conference paper by John K. Yoh has two-and-a-half pages of acknowledgments, ending with ``[and thanks] ... especially to our funding agencies (ERDA, NSF) and the American taxpayers.'' Awwww... he remembered! [The quoted paper is ``The Discovery of the b Quark at Fermilab in 1977: The Experiment Coordinator's Story,'' presented at some conference at Fermilab in 1997 (January or March, apparently).]

Serious nonfiction books normally have acknowledgments in the front matter (see also forward), either as part of a preface or as a separate section. (Acknowledgments in some form are actually required, but since jerks and geniuses are exempted, we're off the hook.)

It is not uncommon for the end of a book's acknowledgments to be a sort of ``dis-disclaimer'' (awkward neologism, sorry) or ``reclaimer'' (hackneyed joke, sorry) in which the author accepts responsibility for all errors, despite the involvement of others who might have prevented them. Here's an unusual version of this, in Orrin W. Robinson's Old English and its Closest Relatives: A Survey of the Earliest Germanic Languages (Stanford University Press, 1992). Its Preface (pp. v-vi) ends thus:

      It hardly needs to be said that I would like to blame the above people for any defects remaining in the book. Unfortunately, I can't. O.W.R.

A somber note also occurs at the end of ``Stuperspace,'' the last article in a special proceedings issue of Physica 15D, pp. 289-293 (1985):

We would like to thank A. Einstein; unfortunately, he's dead.

The preceding examples probably expressed greater regret than was felt. That's better than the alternative situation. Here's how Simon Varey begins the Acknowledgments page of his Space and the Eighteenth-Century English Novel (Cambridge Studies in Eighteenth-Century English Literature and Thought 7):

In New York City on 1 May 1984, a thief took every one of my notes for an earlier incarnation of this book. I refer him to Tristram Shandy, book 3, chapter 11. Because of him I have written a different book, and probably a better one, but I wish I had not been forced to do so much of the research twice.

(The entire cited chapter is given over to the reading of an extremely thorough and ecumenical anathema.)

Let's have another writer's nightmare: Ernest Hemingway's first wife Hadley once put all his typescripts together with all the carbons in one suitcase. She forgot the suitcase on a train platform; it was stolen and never recovered.

``Acknowledgements'' is a variant spelling. I want to thank other reference sources for setting me straight on this. See also dedications and NORAD.

I just happened to find my copy of a (probably the) biography of Robert L. Vann, and noticed that the scratched-over handwriting inside the front cover is a vague dedication by the author. (``In appreciation for what I am attempting to do. Thanks, Andrew Buni. September 20, 1974.'') I suppose it's possible that this was written at a signing, but the text and the presence of a date suggest otherwise. Also, back in those days university presses didn't engage in much, if any, of that sort of promotion. I figure Buni sent this as a complimentary copy, possibly as a promotion.

Taking Buni's presumed gesture as an acknowledgment of moral support, at least, we might describe it as an intermediate level of acknowledgment: the person to whom the dedication was inscribed is not explicitly acknowledged in the front matter. This raises the question whether persons acknowledged get a complimentary copy. I received one book this way, and I'm not aware of any other book in which I have been acknowledged. With very long acknowledgment lists, however, and with certain kinds of corporate entities, I imagine complimentary copies are rare. It's probably up to the author, and publishers probably balk at too many complimentary copies unless they can be justified as realistically promoting sales.

With textbooks, however, things get a bit twisted. Since professors can ``require'' a book for courses they teach, textbook publishers consider the ``examination copies'' sent free to them a sensible expense. The word ``required'' is enclosed in quotes because many students don't buy (or rent) the texts their professors think they require. University book stores place orders for fewer books than professors ``order'' from them, partly anticipating this and partly to account for competition from off-campus book sources and from nominally inappropriate older editions still in circulation. Problems occur whenever (and that's often) book stores guess wrong as to the number of books that will really be required. Students may want to keep this in mind, and not wait too long to buy books for smaller courses. It is my impression that this is a particular problem for engineering courses, but that might be biased by my limited experience. I hope you read this paragraph carefully. At any time it's liable to be removed to ``examination copy'' or ``university book stores'' or some other entry, and you'll have a hell of a time finding it again.

Other academic publication quirks have to do with doctoral and master's dissertations. These are bound, but hardly published. (Their content does often see publication, however. In science and engineering, the dissertation is often cobbled from short papers the student authored or co-authored for journal publication. In the humanities, a recent graduate's doctoral dissertation typically forms the core of a book that a newly-minted tenure-track professor hopes will lead to tenure. For the extremely unusual instance of a dissertation eventually published over 40 years later, see the case of Frank Bourgin at the ABD entry.) In any event, dissertations are now mostly available in cheap photocopies that University Microfilms will produce from its archives. Most of them have acknowledgment front matter, and the degree candidate -- if not too stupid to earn a degree -- first acknowledges his academic advisor (or occasionally advisors), and then others (especially orals committee members). The university library always, the department if required, the advisor or advisors certainly, and the other members of the committee often get a bound copy of the final version of the dissertation. (The library may require more than one.)

Access Control List. Used in NTFS for Windows NT.

ACetal. Polyoxymethylene. Also abbreviated POM. San Diego Plastics, Inc. has a short page of information on Acetal.

Advanced CMOS Logic. One-micron technology. Also AC. Cf. ACT. This page from TI.


American Classical League. Founded in 1919 for the purpose of fostering the study of classical languages in the United States and Canada. An organization mostly for secondary-school Latin and Greek teachers, but membership is open to anyone who (and only to anyone who) would want to join (``committed to the preservation and advancement of our classical inheritance from Greece and Rome'').

Based in Oxford! Oh. Sorry, I mean ``Oxford, OH!'' So is the Campanian Society, come to think of it.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament.

Association for Computational Linguistics.

American Comparative Literature Association, founded in 1960. A constituent society of the ACLS since 1974. ACLS has an overview.

American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. In ninth-grade biology, one of our first labs involved shelling a clam.

Allied (i.e. NATO) Command atLANTic.


Acta CLASsica. Annual, begun in 1959. Published by A. A. Balkema Publishers. ISSN 0065-1141. Indexed on PCI (not free) and TOCS-IN (free). (Choose.)

American Center for Law and Justice.

In 1990, it ``began its operations in Virginia Beach, Virginia -- where the ACLJ was founded by Dr. Pat Robertson, a Yale Law School graduate [better known, I believe, as a Christian broadcaster]. Over the years, the ACLJ has expanded its work and reach with the creation of the European Centre for Law and Justice, based in Strasbourg, France,'' and ``the Slavic Centre for Law and Justice, based in Moscow, Russia. Today, the ACLJ has a network of attorneys nationwide and its national headquarters is located in Washington, D.C. -- just steps away from the Supreme Court and Congress.''

Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists.

Advanced Cardiac Life Support. A regime including defibrillator and drugs.

American Council of Learned Societies.

Thirty-four out of its sixty-one constituent societies have names beginning in the letter A.

American Civil Liberties Union. Nat Hentoff, a disenchanted former activist member, says a friend of his now calls them the ``religious left.''


Academy of Country Music. A trade association based in Los Angeles.

`` 'cademy'' -- that sounds kinda pointy-headed. Shore would be nass if'n they got togethah witha computin' machin'ry folk fer a joint hoot'n'anny!

In ``The Blues Brothers,'' Elwood (Dan Ackroyd) asks ``What kind of music do you usually have here?'' He receives this immortal reply:

Oh, we got both kinds. We got country and western.

Y'know, this is just the sort of attitude that could explain how there has to be a CMA as well. (Interestingly, even though SBF has a full-time banjo expert at the alpha chapter [Buffalo], we only learned about ACM and CMA through a videotaping mishap at our Ontario research facility.)

Address Complete Message. (ATM, SS7 acronym.)

Alan Crider Ministries.

Alliance for Community Media.

Asbestos-Containing Material. A quick way to make bankruptcy look attractive.

Association for Computing Machinery. It would be pretty odd if this organization didn't have a homepage.

Whatis?com offers a handy list of their special interest groups (SIG's).

Atmospheric Corrosion-rate Monitor[s].

Audio Compression Manager.

American College of Medical Informatics.

A.C. Milan
Associazione Calcio MILAN. A very successful soccer club founded in 1899. The founders were Englishmen. Perhaps if they'd been Italians in England it might have been called ``Milano Football Association,'' or ``Milano F.A.'' for short.

Association of Canadian Map Libraries & Archives. It's interesting to compare this with the French name (the expansion of ACACC).

American College of Medical Physics. Not an undergraduate-type college, you understand. Publishes the Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics (JACMP). Cf. AAPM.

American College of Medical Practice Executives. Closely affiliated with the MGMA. The ACMPE administers examinations (and requires continuing education credit hours) to certify MPE's (as CMPE's). Publication of one sort or another is required to advance to fellow status (FACMPE).

Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. At ASU.

Aircraft Condition Monitoring System.

L'Association canadienne des médecins vétérinaires. (In English: CVMA.)

ACetoNitrile. CH3CN. A/k/a methyl cyanide, cyanomethane (37k and 5.6k ghits respectively, as of mid-May 2009, compared to 2.35M ghits for acetonitrile). The systematic name, the name deemed correct by IUPAC, is ethanenitrile (8.4k ghits).

Acetonitrile is a byproduct of acrylonitrile production. Acrylonitrile is also abbreviated ACN.

ACryloNitrile. CH2CHCN. See previous entry.

Anglican Communion Network. An incipient secessionist movement still (2005) within the ECUSA. Alternatively, it is a part of the ECUSA that wants to remain within the worldwide Anglican Communion as the ECUSA departs. ``ACN allows Episcopalians to remain in communion with the vast majority of the worldwide Anglican Communion who have declared either impaired or broken communion with the Episcopal Church USA. For many Episcopalians, the ACN has come to represent the hope for a return to the historic faith and order of Anglicanism.'' From the outside, it seems to be all about gay clergy, but they insist it's about other, minor stuff, like belief in God and scripture. Cf. AAC.

Automated Collision Notification (system).

Anglican Church in North America. A conservative denomination formed in 2009 by Anglicans in the US and Canada unhappy with the liberal direction of the Episcopal Church (in the US) and the Anglican Church of Canada.

L'Association canadienne des optométristes. In English: CAO.

Automatic Cut-Off.

Adult Child[ren] Of Alcoholic[s].

Ethyl (Et) Acetate (Ac). The ester formed from ethanol (CH3CH2OH) and acetic acid (CH3COOH). The O in the abbreviation presumably represents the oxygen between the carboxyl and alcohol carbons.

American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians. ``ACOFP is the national organization of Osteopathic Family Physicians. ... Officially chartered April 4, 1950, in the State of California, the College was affiliated with the AOA in 1953 as the American College of General Practitioners in Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery.''

Since this is an acronym glossary, the only thing we're allowed to say about the Acol bidding system in bridge is that Acol is not an acronym. Oh, all right.

The following is from a newsgroup posting by Martin Ambuhl:

The Acol system evolved from discussions by Jack Marx and S.J. Simon at the Acol Bridge Club in Acol Road in Hampstead. These were fueled by the 1933 Culbertson's America vs. England match. Marx and Simon formed the first Acol Team with Harrison Gray and Iain Macleod in 1935. They completely dominated the previously preeminent teams (Ingram, Beasley, and Lederer), winning everything in sight. The Acol team, augmented by Leslie Dobbs and Kenneth Konstam, won the 1936 Gold Cup. Shortly thereafter Terence Reese joined the Acol group. By the time the Germans invaded Poland, half the tournament players in England had adopted the new methods, including such players as Boris Shapiro, Niel Furse, Nico Gardner (head of the London School of Bridge).

There is an Acol Bridge Club in that part of London today, specifically at 86 West End Lane, West Hampstead, London NW6 2LX. That's at the corner of West End Lane and Compayne Gardens. From there along West End Lane it's about 3 blocks south (counting streetcorners on the left) to Acol Road. Some newsgroup postings claim it's the same club and some claim it isn't. There ought to be some reason why this bridge club is named for a short, somewhat distant side-street. Moreover, as of 2005, the club's homepage has a marquee that scrolls ``The Home of English Bridge for over 60 years!'' It's plausible that the page author wanted a round number, and that ``over 70 years'' wasn't yet appropriate when the page went up. OTOH, FWIW, the club's pages seem nowhere to come out and make the plain assertion that the Acol system was named after the club and not, say, vice versa.

Today Acol in various variants (including one called Stone Age Acol, presumably the closest to what was played in the 1930's) is the dominant bidding system in Britain.

Here's a manageable set of webpages on Acol, served by Bridge Guys (dot com).

Analytical Chemistry by Open Learning. A textbook series published by Wiley.

American Center of Oriental Research. In Amman, Jordan.

Association of Cancer Online Resources.

Australian Centre for Oilseed Research.

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. ``Now'' is a moving target. The organization has been in existence since 1970. It promotes left-wing and progressive causes in the US. In 2003, ACORN had 160,000 dues-paying members. Roughly one activist for every two thousand inactivists. Apparently that's not enough. They hire people for $8 an hour or thereabouts, to go into the community, find eligible citizens, and help them fill out voter-registration cards. The way this promotes left-wing causes is that the communities are poor and presumed to be left-leaning.

A wage of $8 an hour may not buy very good work, and many of the ex-cons they managed to hire didn't follow proper procedure. They helped non-existent and therefore ineligible citizens, named them fancifully or with help from newspapers and TV, and helped these fictitious persons fill out voter-registration cards by, for example, listing their addresses as homeless shelters. They must have been surprised when they were found out, but persons named Tom Tancredo, Dennis Hastert, and Leon Spinks turned out not to be as obscure as they must have supposed, and names like Fruito Boy Crispila not so credible. Just to put some numbers on this: in 2006, ACORN registered 1800 new voters in the state of Washington, and all but 6 of them were fake. According to Fox News, state investigators were told by one worker ``[that] it was a lot of hard work making up all those names'' and another ``said he would sit at home, smoke marijuana and fill out the forms.'' I guess that could explain Mr. Fruito Crispila.

Advisory Council On Science and Technology (UK). I don't know...pronouncability is not always a virtue. I can think of two alternate ways to apprehend the acronym per se that make this appear an infelicitous choice. Maybe they should have kept it ``Advisory Council of the United Kingdom Government on S&T issues.''

African, Caribbean, and Pacific. A heterogeneous but apparently useful category for economic-development types. It doesn't include any large country with possessions in or borders on one or more of the constituent regions.

Hey, why not? Here's proof that I didn't make this one up myself. If I had made it up, it would have been more specific, like Angola, Cuba, and Portugal or Purgatory (somewhere in the southern Hemisphere or New Mexico). [Let me clarify that: there's a town of Purgatory in New Mexico. For all I know, it might be a center for laxative production. Also, according to Dante's Divine Comedy, Purgatory is at the antipode to Jerusalem.]

In EC usage, ACP is a set of developing countries signatory to the Lomé convention (1975), a reciprocal trade-and-aid agreement.

American Center for Physics. ``A building that houses central offices for the American Institute of Physics, The American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.''

The ACP is pleased to have a street address of
One Physics Ellipse,
College Park, MD 20740

American College of Phlebology. Man, they're putting American schools in all kinds of way-out places.

American College of Physicians.

American College of Psychiatrists.

Animal Care Panel. Founded in 1950, renamed AALAS in 1967.

Associated Collegiate Press.

The Observer is ``The Independent Student Newspaper Serving Notre Dame and Saint Mary's.'' The issue of Monday, February 25, 2001 had the following front-page story, modestly placed below the fold:

Observer takes top honors at ACP national convention.

The article was written by one of the senior news editors. Here are the first two paragraphs, faithfully transcribed:
The Observer took home its first ever Newspaper of the Year award Sunday from the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP).

``This was the result of many long hours in the office four our staff and is proof that The Observer is continuing it's long legacy of excellence,'' said Noreen Gillespie, managing editor of The Observer.

The story continues on page 4. Half of the World & Nation page (p. 5) is devoted to an AP wire report from London: Foot-and-mouth cases on the rise.

If you didn't read the rest of the paper, you might imagine that the elementary spelling errors and international news sense were jokes, like the full-issue salute to Saint Mary's women that once ran on Labor Day (1996, I think it was).

The Observer won in the ``Four-year [college] Daily [more than once per week]'' category. In addition to first- through third-place winners, there were two honorable mentions (HM's). That sounds like a higher honor.

If you believe what you read in the paper, then here's some further information on the ACP: it ``is a division of the National Scholastic Press Association [NSPA] and is the oldest and largest organization for college student media in the United States. Founded in 1921, the ACP today has nearly 800 members, including close to 600 student newspapers.'' As the ACP page explains, it was the NSPA that was founded in 1921, with some college members; the ACP was founded in 1933.

L'Association canadienne de philosophie. (Canadian Philosophical Association.)

L'Association canadienne des paraplégiques. (Canadian Paraplegic Association.)

Automóvel Clube de Portugal.

Autoridad del Canal de Panamá. `Panama Canal Authority.' An autonomous agency of the Panamanian government, charged with operating and maintaining the Panama Canal.

American Chronic Pain Association.

American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association.

American College Personnel Association.

American Concrete Pipe Association.

American Crop Protection Association. Brought to you by farmers, the people who own the 5AM TV timeslot.

Angular Correlation of Positron Annihilation Radiation. Calm down -- all it takes to annihilate a positron is an electron, and you contain about a mole of them per gram (or about 2.73x1026 per pound).

Association canadienne du personnel administratif universitaire. In English: CAUBO.

Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Formerly the ACPE.

Originally founded (1932) to accredit pre-service education, in 1975 its scope expanded to include accrediting providers of continuing pharmacy education. That's the general direction, isn't it? Professionalization up the wazoo. But the cure probably isn't worse than the disease. In continuing legal education, a lot of the commercially-offered credits are regarded as worthless.

American College of Physician Executives.

American Council on Pharmaceutical Education. Now the ACPE. The name change took place in 2003, so there's a lot of confusion, with many webpages referring to the ACPE when they mean the ACPE. Some pages mentioin both the ACPE and the ACPE, without giving any indication that they are the same organization. For more about the name change, see the this AJP entry.

Advanced Configuration and Power Interface.
``An open industry specification co-developed by Compaq, Intel, Microsoft, Phoenix, and Toshiba.

ACPI establishes industry-standard interfaces for OS-directed configuration and power management on laptops, desktops, and servers.

ACPI evolves the existing collection of power management BIOS code, Advanced Power Management (APM) application programming interfaces (APIs), PNPBIOS APIs, Multiprocessor Specification (MPS) tables and so on into a well-defined power management and configuration interface specification.

The specification enables new power management technology to evolve independently in operating systems and hardware while ensuring that they continue to work together.''

Of practical consumer interest:

OSPM provides a new appliance interface to consumers. In particular, it provides for a sleep button that is a ``soft'' button that does not turn the machine physically off but signals the OS to put the machine in a soft off or sleeping state. ACPI defines two types of these ``soft'' buttons: one for putting the machine to sleep and one for putting the machine in soft off.

This gives the OEM two different ways to implement machines: A one-button model or a two-button model. The one-button model has a single button that can be used as a power button or a sleep button as determined by user settings. The two-button model has an easily accessible sleep button and a separate power button. In either model, an override feature that forces the machine off or resets it without OS consent is also needed to deal with various [putatively] rare, but problematic, situations.
(See section 1.5 of the ACPI spec.)

American College of Prehospital Medicine. A college in the sense of a degree-granting institution, with a physical location but with courses generally taken on-line. ``If you have been frustrated trying to complete an undergraduate degree and feel you may never be able to do so trying to balance family and career, Internet-based distance education may be the answer. ACPM is 100% dedicated to the needs of military and civilian emergency medical care providers.'' This is the first college I've ever encountered that features PayPal as its principal payment option. Accredited since 1995 by DETC.

American College of Preventive Medicine. This ACPM is intended to delay your need for the services of those trained by this ACPM.

(UK) Association of Chief Police Officers.

Australian College of Pharmacy Practice.

L'Association canadienne des professeures et professeurs d'université. Same as the CAUT.

Ariel Center for Policy Research. It was ``established in 1997 as a non-profit, non-partisan organization, committed to stimulating and informing the national and international debates concerning all aspects of security policy - notably those policies which are an outcome of the political process started in Oslo and subsequently called the Peace Process.'' Likud-oriented.

Association canadienne des professeurs de rédaction technique et scientifique. (`Canadian Association of Teachers of Technical Writing.')

American College of Poultry Veterinarians. Chickens, and apparently birds in general, have their lungs near the tops of their bodies. I guess that improves stability, even on the ground.

Asymmetrical CoPlanar Waveguide.

ACQui{ re[s|d] | sition[s] }.

American Council for Québec Studies. Apparently based, like ACSUS, at SUNY Plattsburgh, in upstate New York.

acquisition of language
Some people in the field of language education make a distinction between language learning and acquisition. This is clear enough from the following footnote:
Here, we do not distinguish "learn" and "acquire," making no claim as to whether conscious language learning or unconscious language acquisition are involved.
[The quote is footnote 2 of ``Age, Rate and Eventual Attainment in Second Language Acquisition,'' by Stephen D. Krashen, Michael A. Long, and Robin C. Scarcella, in TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Dec. 1979), pp. 573-582. (Krashen is extremely prominent in the field of SLA, and Scarcella is no slouch either.)]

Abrupt Change in Resistivity. Resulting, say, from electromigration-induced void formation.

Additive Cell Rate. The rate at which a source can transmit ATM cells after increasing its rate by the RIF.

Adjusted Community Rating.

American College of Radiology. Not a post-secondary educational institution, but, well, yes, a post-post-secondary or post-post-post-secondary educational institution, and as such a post-secondary one, but not exactly that, but a professional organization for professionals -- not that undergraduates aren't in some sense professional but anyway you get the idea.

American College of Rheumatology. ``[T]he professional organization of rheumatologists and associated health professionals who share a dedication to healing, preventing disability, and curing the more than 100 types of arthritis and related disabling and sometimes fatal disorders of the joints, muscles, and bones.'' ``Curing'' is perhaps a bit hopeful; mostly, it's about palliation and pain management.

L'Association canadienne des radiodiffuseurs. ``Le porte-parole des radiotélédiffuseurs privés du Canada.'' (`The voice of the private broadcasters of Canada.') The organization name in English is CAB. CAB holds its annual convention in October.

L'Association canadienne des rédacteurs-réviseurs. Editors' Association of Canada.

A nice, sensible unit of area: 43560 square feet. Many countries that have wholeheartedly adopted ``international'' (SI) units find that it is still somewhat more convenient to measure area in old units, because real estate, as such, doesn't wear out very quickly.

An acre is one 640th of a square mile, or 0.40468564224 ha.

Active Citizens for Responsible Environmentalism.

Australian Centre for Remote Sensing. ``Australia's principal earth resource satellite ground station and data processing facility. ACRES is one in a network of ground stations covering most of the world.'' WWWVL includes a page of remote sensing organizations.

The Alberta Chapter of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. ACRID is affiliated with the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), based in the US, and with the Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada (AVLIC). All I really want to know is whether they pronounce it ``ay-see-rid'' or ``acrid,'' but for some reason these organizations seem to be less than usually interested in the way words sound.

Association of College and Research Libraries. A division of the American Library Association (ALA).

A Contrived Reduction Of Nouns, Yielding Mnemonics.

See also notarikon.

Acronyms are a vast topic and a good jumping-off point for everything, so anything I said about them here would be just a gob in the ocean. So why even hawk up to spit? Nevertheless, I should probably mention somewhere that within this reference work, I tend to favor the word initialism for any acronymic construct whose pronunciation is based entirely or mostly on the names of its component letters.

A demonstration of the importance of having a robust armamentarium of acronyms is adumbrated in this sentence from conservative opinionator Victor Davis Hanson (March 22, 2017, ``Does Europe Treasure NATO Again?''):

We are still waiting to see the fruition of a European External Action Service; so far there are lots of impressive acronyms for various forces and programs, but no brigades in action.

Hey -- well started is half done, no?

across this great land
Among those eligible to vote for me in the next election.

American Civic Religion, Official Version. Term introduced by Conor Cruise O'Brien, in his 1996 book on Thos. Jefferson.

Accelerated Cost Recovery System. A term used by the US IRS. If you need help preparing your tax return, try visiting the IRS website.

Jargon for Alpha Crucis, the star at the ``foot'' of the Southern Cross.

Assured Crew Return Vehicle or Astronaut Crew Rescue Vehicle. Because getting there really is only half the fun.

acrylic acid
Propenoic acid. Illustration at the PMMA entry. Here's a gas: acrylic acid has antibiotic action. You can read about it in J. M. Sieburth, ``Acrylic acid, an antibiotic principle in antarctic waters,'' Science, 132, 6767 (1960). And no, it didn't come from a toxic shirt spill, it came from yellow-brown algae. atohaas, a subsidiary of Rohm and Haas that bills itself as ``The Worldwide Leader in Acrylic Technology,'' does not list this among the medical and other applications of acrylics.

Here are instructions on how you can use acrylic to protect yourself.

Du Pont originally began research in acrylic plastics in order to find a use for its surplus isobutanol byproduct. Plexiglass is polyacrylic.

acrylic plastic
Almost certainly poly methyl methacrylic plastic (PMMA).

Access Control System.

Ackerman Computer Sciences. ``Designers, Developers and Manufacturers of Intelligent Electronic Components Including CEBus Products and Custom Embedded Controllers.''

Acrylonitrile Chlorinated polyethylene Styrene (terpolymer).

Acute Coronary Syndrome.

Advanced Communication System.

Advanced Conservative Studies. Something practiced at the Limbaugh Institute of Advanced Conservative Studies, according to the eponymous founder.

American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society NYSERNet site.

American Ceramic Society. Also ``ACerS.'' Visit here for the Basic Science Program.

American Chemical Society.

American College of Surgeons. Founded in 1913, it currently has over 60,000 members and represents all surgical specialties.

Archives and Collections Society.

Associated Colleges of the South.

L'Association canadienne de soccer. Try L'ACS.

Association of Caribbean States. Cf. OECS.

Attitude Control System. No, not beer. The attitude here is a plane's angle of attack.

Australian Computer Society.

Arab Center for the Studies of Arid zones and Dry lands. It's run by the Arab League and located in Deir Ezzor, in northern Syria.

Northern Syria is also the area where reportedly, on September 6, 2007, Israeli planes attacked a facility where North Korean engineers were helping their Syrian friends with some cement they had shipped in from North Korea. Recently modified ship manifests prove that it was cement, but some people wonder why Israel attacked a cement shipment. That's all the sense I can make of the conflicting stories regarding the Korean-flagged ships.

Another version of events has it that Israel attacked military supplies for Hezbollah, but that's ridiculous because (a) under the terms of the 2006 ceasefire, Hezbollah is not to be rearmed, and (b) under the supervision of the UN-hatted international peace-keeping force charged with preventing Hezbollah from rearming, Hezbollah was fully rearmed long before the September attack. In short, no one believes the Hezbollah arms story.

Interestingly, the only countries that have condemned the attack are Syria and North Korea, which have also denied that the planes bombed a military research facility that was storing North Korean nuclear material, shortly after North Korea again finally agreed to abandon its nuclear enrichment program. So if North Korea is not playing a Syrian shell game with its nuclear weapons program, why did the Israelis bomb?

On September 29, Syrian Vice-President Faruq Al Shara showed photos of some damaged building somewhere and explained that the Israeli attack hit ACSAD. The next day, a statement was issued by ACSAD, attacking the Zionist media for claiming that the attack hit ACSAD. The Arab League headquarters in Cairo was unable to confirm that the photos shown by Al Shara were of ACSAD.

Well, here's something curious. In January 2006, the Directors-General of ACSAD and the Arab Atomic Energy Agency signed a memorandum of understanding. I don't know the details, but it had to do with agriculture.

Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand.

Australian Computer Science Conference.

Antarctic Coastal and Shelf Ecosystem.

Association Control Server Element. (In application layer of ATM.)

(Grand Rapids, Michigan) Area Community Service Employment and Training.

Advanced Continuous Simulation (programming) Language.

American College of Sports Medicine. Founded 1954. See also NASM.

American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. Founded in 1941. Member societies:

Association des Centres de Santé de l'Ontario. French for `Association of Ontario Health Centres.'

AIDS Cost and Services Utilization Survey. Published in 1993, it was ``a longitudinal study of persons with HIV-related disease. In a combination of personal interviews and abstraction of medical and billing records spanning an 18-month period, information was collected on more than 1,900 HIV-infected adults and adolescents, including approximately 350 women, and on 140 HIV-infected children under 13 years of age.''

Association for Canadian Studies in the United States. Publishes the quarterly ARCS. So that's what they call that white region up there where the state map colorings end!

Academy of Certified Social Workers. Other credentials are Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Board-Certified Diplomate (BCD) in Clinical Social Work (CSW). See SW entry for related entries. (http://www.acsw.com/ is Academic Software, Inc., which prefers to go by the acronym ASI.)

Action for Children's Television. Founded by Peggy Charren and two other Boston moms in 1968.

In the 1970's, ACT successfully pushed for legal restrictions on commercialism in children's TV programming, and claimed credit for the prohibition of product promotions by children's-show hosts and other commercial practices. ACT also successfully pushed for a ban (implemented by FCC regulatory action) on vitamin-pill ads, when it was found that children were poisoning themselves with overdoses. (Iron is very dangerous; some vitamins, particularly the oil-soluble ones, can produce some of the same symptoms when taken in great excess as when not available in sufficient quantity.)

ACT's advocacy helped pass the Children's Television Act of 1990, which required the FCC to impose some limits on commercials in children's programming (in 1991 they set these at 10.5 minutes per hour weekends, 12 minutes/hour weekdays) and required commercial stations to report on efforts to provide ``educational and informational'' programming as part of their license renewal applications. Products with direct tie-ins to a children's program are forbidden to be advertised during the program (so, for example, GI Joe dolls can't be advertised during the GI Joe show), though they can be advertised at any other time, such as immediately afterwards. You're not the only person who thinks this particular restriction is toothless. There are also restrictions on 900-number ads aimed at children.

ACT president Charren did something surprising in 1992. She decided that with the FCC's new rules, there was no important work for ACT to do that could not be done better by other organizations, particularly local advocacy groups, so she folded it. Remaining assets of $125,000 were donated to Harvard University Graduate School of Education for an annual fellowship and a lecture series on children's TV. ACT was supported over the years by a series of grants -- the first for $165,000 from the John Markle Foundation in 1970, later grants from the Ford and Carnegie foundations. Some saw the end of ACT as simply a reaction to a funding fall-off. The organization had a $500,000/year budget and a staff of 15 in its 70's heyday, and was down to four employees and $125,000/year in 1991.

ACT always opposed censorship, as she saw it, and that's about right if you accept the conventional legal views that (1) commercial speech does not enjoy the full protection that the first amendment grants to noncommercial, press, and individual private speech and (2) that children have special vulnerability that the state has a significant (or ``compelling,'' Supreme Court decisions turn on such distinctions) interest to be balanced against free-speech concerns. In any case, the Federal Communications Act is the most explicitly socialist document in US law, recognizing the frequency spectrum as a limited resource belonging to the people collectively, and hence subject to regulation by the FCC. ACT opposed the boycotts and what Peggy Charren saw as censorship advocated by conservative groups like the Moral Majority, and indicated that their declining influence also allowed her to disband ACT. ACT joined on the plaintiffs' side in a suit by broadcasters against the FCC's ban on indecent broadcasts.

ACTivity bit. (ATM acronym.)

Actual Cycle Time.

Advanced CMOS logic (ACL) using TTL voltage levels.

(Canadian) Alliance for Children and Television. Sounds like a conflict of interest right there.

Alternative Control Technique[s].

America Coming Together. A liberal group founded in 2003. Heavily funded by George Soros and insurance magnate Peter Lewis, it spent tens of millions of dollars in get-out-the-vote drives in 2004. It was originally intended to continue operating as an independent political organization, with the cachet it gained from helping to elect President John F. Kerry giving it influence in the new administration, but things didn't work out that way. It was disbanded in August 2005.

There was a sister organization called the Media Fund, similarly funded and defunded by the same pair. Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel, the DCCC Chair for the 2006 elections, gave an interview to the New York Daily News in August 2006 in which he transparently criticized Soros and Lewis: ``In the 2004 election there were some very active players who, as far as I can tell, have now decided they're neither going to be involved in the field, advertising or anything. ... Do you know where they are?'' Some commentators commentated that dissing some of the party's most generous contributors might not be wise.

American College of Theriogenologists. From an About-ACT page: ``To develop a name for the College, Professor Herbert Howe, Department of Classics, University of Wisconsin was consulted. After much consideration Theriogenology was chosen; therio(=beast or animal) + gen/genesis (=beginning, birth, reproduction)+ology (=study of).''

During WWI, my grandfather was an officer in the Kaiser's army, on the western front. As an officer, he rode a horse, of course. On some occasion, with most of the details lost to history, a farmer went away and left him with a mare that was about to drop a foal. The farmer must have supposed that as an officer and a horse rider, he knew his way around a horse. Maybe my grandfather should have pointed out that in civilian life, he was a lawyer (actually a Rechtsanwalt, which is perhaps better translated as `barrister,' but in any case a city-slicker lacking the relevant hands-on experience). In the event, the mare had a difficult birth, which my grandfather didn't realize until too late, and the foal died.

American College Test. A competitor of the SAT test. The organization that administers the test now styles itself ACT -- Information for Life's Transitions, and insists that it was only ``formerly American College Testing.'' (For a similar example see the SPIE. I mean, International Business Machines is now officially just IBM, but they don't make a big fuss about it, and you can even find the expansion that led to the name on their web pages.) What tendentious nonsense. (For your inconvenience, we serve at least one other certifiably tendentious link.)

Apart from the general organization website linked above, ACT has a short-words-and-simple-sentences ``student site for ACT test takers.'' Cartoons and photographs are ``diverse'' or ``balanced.'' (I.e., if there are fewer than ten student models in a page view, then any white male must be able to pass for Hispanic. The color-calibrated society. I'm sure that the people involved in these travesties don't suspect they are pandering, disingenuous, or sneakily offensive. Where are the redheads!? Why aren't there any redheads?! They didn't include redheads! We're being objectified! Oppression! Oppression!)

The ACT must be one of the most superfluous of college entrance exams. Competitive schools rely on the SAT.

American Conservatory Theater. In San Francisco.

Australian Capital Territory. This contains the national capital Canberra, and is completely surrounded by the state of New South Wales. In 1915, the Commonwealth government purchased the Jervis Bay Territory from the state of New South Wales, so that Canberra would have access to the sea. This is great; now all that Canberra needs is access to the Jervis Bay Territory. Jervis Bay Territory is still a separate, federally administered territory, but for practical purposes (no, I'm not sure how practical) it is part of the ACT, and I've seen it called the Jervis Bay Exclave of the Australian Capital Territory.

Jervis is a name like Berkeley. In both cases, the eponym (British admiral John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent; Bishop George Berkeley) has a first-syllable er that was pronounced like the word are, and in both cases the toponym (Jervis Bay, Australia; Berkeley, California) has regularized the sound to er.

American Council of (College and University) Trustees and Alumni. It's very common for alumni to become trustees, but... it still strikes me as a somewhat unbalanced pairing... perhaps because I don't know much about the organization.

Acta Diurna
Tijdschrift voor Latinisten en aanverwanten. A Dutch classics journal. I'll get back to this entry when their website is finished. Okay, okay: I mean I'll get back to it when the website has an English version.

Association canadienne de télévision par câble. English CCTA.

Advanced-Concept Technology Demonstration.

An FPGA designer and developer (they subcontract manufacture to a number of foundries). As of 1995, Actel and Xilinx dominated FPGA world market.

American College Theatre Festival. That's officially the KC/ACTF.

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Its five regional affiliates are SCOLT, SWCOLT, CSC, NECTFL, and PNCFL.


AIDS Clinical Trials Group.

AdrenoCorticoTropic Hormone. Also called corticotropin, but I guess that didn't lend itself to a very distinctive initialism. ACTH stimulates the secretory activity of the adrenal glands. ACTH in its turn is produced by the anterior pituitary, which is stimulated to release it by the aptly named CRH.

ACTH levels in the blood vary over the course of the day. The normal range is up to 80 pg/ml at 8-10 AM, unless you keep weird hours like me. (Yeah, the units there are picograms per milliliter. When you're talking hormones, a little bit goes a long way.)

Advanced Concepts and Technology II. A military procurement program.

Depending exponentially on 1/T. That is, varying as
exp( -Eact / kBT ) ,
where kB is Boltzmann's constant, T is absolute temperature, and Eact is called an activation energy, and lies approximately in the range of 0.1 to 10 eV for phenomena that exhibit activation at room temperature. Activated behavior is commonly observed in transport and reaction coefficients for phonon-assisted processes (e.g., atomic and ionic diffusivity, electron and hole mobility in materials with strong electron-phonon coupling that leads to localized carriers, carrier density and conductivity in intrinsic semiconductors).

Activated temperature dependence is also called Arrhenius behavior. See more at the Arrhenius plot entry.

activated sludge
Sludge that is well oxygenated and rich in destructive microorganisms that will produce what is charmingly known as ``high-quality effluent.''

In the field of adhesives and sealants (A&S), an activator is a chemical applied to bonding surfaces to prepare them for bonding.

active filter
A filter circuit which includes electronic components that are active, in the electronic device sense (transistors, op amps, maybe some more exotic devices). Any filter that is not a passive filter.

Of course, any digital filter is active, but the term active filter tends to imply an analog filter.

active learning
A buzzword popular among educrats and their ilk. The term is associated with the idea that lectures are dry and don't engage students. ``Active learning'' is the putative alternative.

active sludge
Sounds a little too energetic to me. Well aerated sewage rich in destructive bacteria, protozoa, etc., that will rapidly break down the fresh sewage into, like, the opposite. Active sludge is a less common synonym of activated sludge.

active words
Most students of a foreign language are aware of a grammatical distinction in the category of ``voice.'' Declarative sentences may be in the active voice or the passive voice. A typical sentence in the active voice would be
Fat Bob used the elevator.

I want to take a moment here to apologize to readers who are radially challenged, or whatever the current euphemism is. When the sentence is cast into the passive voice, it becomes

The elevator was used by Fat Bob.

Now in both Fat-Bob sentences above, Fat Bob is the ``agent'' of the action performed by the verb. He performs the action, even though the action may not seem like much of a performance. It's true that the elevator does the heavy lifting, but the verb is not ``lift.'' The verb is use, and it is Bob who does the using, so Bob is the agent.

Sorry to break off like this, but the entry is under construction. Fat Bob is the ``subject'' or ``agent'' of the sentence. He performs the action, even though it's not much of a performance

``As soon as I stopped eating meat, I made sure everyone knew that I'd done so, and was, therefore, morally superior. Letting everyone know you're morally superior is called activism.''

Cribbed from Brian Sack: In the Event of My Untimely Demise (HarperOne, 2008), near the bottom of p. 96.

The extensive rate of nuclear decay. That is, the number of decays per unit time. The SI unit of activity is the becquerel (abbreviated Bq), defined as one decay per second.

The ratio of the fugacity of a substance in solution to its fugacity in the liquid state.

The law of mass action in its simplest form expresses equilibrium in terms of concentrations or partial pressures. This is a kind ideal-gas approximation; the correct formulation replaces concentrations with fugacities. (This doesn't instantly solve the problem, of course, since one has the problem of determining the fugacity function.)

activity coefficient
The ratio of the fugacity to whatever is the usual measure of concentration (partial pressure of a gas, mole fraction of a liquid, molar or molal concentration in a solution) used in the law of mass action. Activity coefficients (written as gammas with subscripts indicating chemical component) are factored into the law of mass action for a more realistic description (see preceding activity entry).

ACTivate Logical Unit. (SNA.) That doesn't mean activate the unit that logic would suggest activating. The term ``logical'' is in contradistinction to ``physical,'' and refers to alternate ways of designating devices. Logical names or addresses are assignable, they're handles; physical names are essentially dictated by hardware.

Does sound vaguely reminiscent of Lovecraft's Cthulu, doesn't it? Not even a little bit?

Act of God
Earthquake, famine, flood, pestilence... Is that what He's been doing lately?

ACTivate Physical Unit. (SNA.) Cf. preceding entry (ACTLU).

American Council of Teachers of Russian. ``to advance research, training, and the materials development in the fields of Russian and English languages, as well as strengthen communication between the communities of scholars and educators in language, literature, and area studies in the United States and the former Soviet Union.'' Whatever. Founded in 1974, it spawned ACCELS in 1987, and ACTR and ACCELS were folded into a new organization in 1998.

Just look up ACTR and ACCELS, willya?

AC Transit
Alameda County (CA) TRANSIT. Buses.

Advanced Communications Technologies and Services. An R&D program for developing telecommunications. Established by the 4th Framework Programme of the European Union.

Advanced Communications Technology Satellite.

Association canadienne des télécommunications sans fil. English CWTA.

[phone icon]

Automatic Coin Telephone Service. Related acronym is COCOT.

ACT-UP, Act-Up
AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power. Known in its early days for desperate outrageousness.


A Roman unit of length equal to about 36 meters, or about 118 (Eng.) feet.

Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers' Union.

Advanced CMOS logic using TTL voltage levels, and having center ground and power pins. Cf. AC11.

American Christian University. Oh God what a slow-loading homepage.

Update January 2005: obviously thanks to God, the page loads much faster now. Thank you for your prayers -- they were obviously effective.

American Conservative Union. The oldest conservative lobbying organization in the US: founded in 1964, the year of Barry Goldwater's landslide loss to Lyndon Johnson.

Antenna Control Unit.

Animal Care and Use Committee.

The January 1987 issue of Laboratory Animal Science was a special issue on ``Effective Animal Care and Use Committees.'' Thumbing through it to titillate my uh, to satisfy my curios..., uh, to investigate research into animal pain, I found a couple of titles that whispered heresy! Richard J. Traystman, Ph.D., asked ``ACUC, Who Needs It?: The Investigator's Viewpoint'' (pp. 108-110), while Joseph R. Geraci, V.M.D., Ph.D. and Dean H. Percy (no picture) asked ``Are Animal Care and Use Committees Really Needed?'' (pp. 111-112).

Let me give you a hint about reading scientific papers besides ``don't'': after the title, read the concluding paragraph. The introduction is just a build-up to demonstrate that the topic is more serious, important and interesting than it seems, despite being one of 300,000 published that week. Also, if the article is reviewed, it is good to cite the previous important and excellent work of anyone who may be referee for the article. Asphyxiating as I bated my breath, I cut to the chase.

Geraci and Percy's concluding paragraph begins ``In answer to our original question, ACUCs really are needed.'' Let me take a moment here to point out that the only justification for the use of italics in a scientific paper is to distinguish vectors from scalars.

Breathing more easily now, I notice that the next sentence contains some meaningful information: ``While to some observers their functions may appear to be mundane and unimportant, active ACUCs ...'' I commend the syntactical virtues of this admission to your attentive attention. Recognize that writing, like any game, has both offensive and defensive maneuvers. In the first place, defensive writing requires that one not write anything one would regret having quoted back to one. Crafting effective defensive prose requires one to anticipate the offensive maneuvers of the opponent or ``quoter.'' The ``quoter'' pares away words, like a sculptor chipping away excess material, ultimately leaving a work of art. Thus, any sufficiently long piece of prose can be edited to something like ``... I ... like ... [young boys] ....'' The rules of the game more or less require the ellipses and brackets, so the ``quoter'' prefers to be able to use big slabs of text without square-bracket interpolations. Returning, then, to the defensive task at hand, remember: Conjugation is your friend. That is, if a predatory quoter wants to twist your prose into a demonstration that you believe a proposition that you have merely stated as a straw man, inconvenient syntax protects you. In this instance, for example, the text might have read ``Some observers think that the functions of ACUCs are mundane and unimportant, but ....'' Such phrasing is vulnerable to editing into ``ACUCs are mundane and unimportant.'' As defensively organized, however, the verb is appear, and the copula is in infinitive form, so predatory quoters are forced to use more evident modification.

The English language draws its strength from active verbs. How much better ``Dick ran'' than ``Dick was in the process of running''! Hence, if the authors had been writing with no other purpose in mind than to produce clear, taut prose, the ``to be'' in the sentence should have been discarded: ``... functions may appear mundane and unimportant...'' There is no sanction in defensive wording for not compressing the sentence in this way, but flabby writing is a hard habit to break.

According to Traystman's concluding paragraph: ``The answer of course is, all of us need it!!'' You know, some authors of papers in scientific journals seem not to be aware of it, but the use of exclamation marks for emphasis WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!!!!!!!!! The only reason for exclamation marks is to indicate factorial and double factorial. If t is a positive integer,

t! = t * (t-1) * (t-2) * ... * 3 * 2 * 1

t!! = t * (t-2) * (t-4) * ... * (4 or 3) * (2 or 1).

For more on lab animals, see the AWA entry.

(US) Army Common User System. A communications system.


In medical usage, the sense of acute is sharply restricted. It refers to health effects that are sharply restricted in time -- of sudden or rapid onset and brief duration. If you imagine a graph of pain or some other measure of morbidity plotted as a function of time, then a sudden onset with rapid decrease immediately after will look like a ``sharp'' spike, so the term is etymologically reasonable in more than just a loosely transferred sense.

On the other hand, use of the term ``acute'' does imply some level of severity: if the pain is not very intense, or the symptom not severe, then the spike will not be very high, and would look not sharp but stubby.

There are a lot of interesting mathematical things one could say about the maximum, topology, coarse-graining, natural scales and dimensional analysis, but physicians rarely think about these wonderful things. Suffice it to say that it is reasonable from the perspective of a scientist's use of language that ``acute'' should mean of rapid onset and short duration, given that the thing described exceeds some threshold level of noticeability. Most decisively, however, the usage is an established convention.

Note that there is no special term implying brief duration without sudden onset. The reason is tautology: if the onset is not rapid, then the duration can't be brief.

Acute is contrasted with chronic.

Accountants Computer Users Technical Exchange. So sophisticated it doesn't need a website, I guess. The expansion given here uses the most commonly encountered inflection of the first word, although it doesn't make sense. Accounting and Accountants', which make more sense, are less common. The thing exchanged is information; ACUTE organizes seminars. They had annual meetings at least as far back as the mid-1980's. I think this organization may have gone out of operation in the mid-nineties.

Advanced Cargo Vehicle. Old NASA acronym.

Allegheny Clarion Valley. I must have been in Clarion (I-80 Pennsylvania exits 62 and 64) at least a dozen times in the past dozen years (to 2008), and at least a time or two in Emlenton (exit 42). In Clarion I managed never to encounter this abbreviation. In Emlenton it's everywhere. The reason seems to be that Clarion is not in the Allegheny Clarion Valley.

There are three Clarions in Pennsylvania: Clarion County, and Clarion Township and Clarion Borough, which are in the county. Clarion Borough is almost completely surrounded by Clarion Township, though the borough shares perhaps 150 meters of border with Highland Township. The borough of Clarion is the county seat of Clarion County.

Emlenton Borough straddles the border of Clarion and Venango counties. Children of that borough and some other villages and unincorporated areas attend public schools of the Allegheny Clarion Valley School District. This school district has the unique distinction of being the only school district in Pennsylvania to span parts of four counties (Armstrong, Butler, Clarion and Venango). The ACVSD seems to be the only official government entity to bear the ACV moniker; I would guess that the region was named after the school district.

American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists.

American Council for Voluntary Agencies in Foreign Service. Merged with PAID in 1984 to form InterAction. I guess you could say that InterAction put PAID to the ACVA. (I sincerely apologize.)

A-C Valley
Allegheny Clarion Valley, more often A.C.V.

American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology.

Acute (ac) CardioVascular Disease. Vide gravy and coup de grâce.

American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

American College of Veterinary Microbiologists.

American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. For more like this, try the Dog Fanciers' Acronym List.

American College of Veterinary Pathologists. It's ``an international organization for those specializing in veterinary and comparative pathology.'' The ACVP and ASVCP hold a joint annual meeting.

American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.

American College of Veterinary Radiology.

American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Allegheny Clarion Valley School District. See ACV.

A radical derived from a carboxylic acid by the removal of the hydroxyl group from a carboxyl group:
acid:                      C == O

acyl:                      C == O

For the specific case of R a methyl group, the acyl is acetyl.

ACYCLOguanosine. A drug, used against herpes, that inhibits expression of VIRal DNA.

Advanced CMOS logic with center ground and power pins. Cf. ACT11.

Audio Code #3. Designation during development of a Dolby code that became Dolby Digital. It has five channels: center, left, and right, and rear/surround left and right. There's a subwoofer separated off the rear channels, so it is also sometimes called a 5.1 (channel) system.

ADvertisement. Look, all three major Scrabble dictionaries accept even admass. A fortiori, they must accept ad (and its plural ads).


Okay, okay: mere logic can't guarantee that a word is valid, but in this case the ``reasoning trick'' happens to work.

Aggregate Demand. A macroeconomic fiction.

Agriculture Dept. That is, the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Air Defense.

Alzheimer's Disease. Related entries: Alzheimer's Association (AA), ApoE4, NSAID, PHF.

Old name: Presenile dementia.

American Demographics Magazine. This indie mag publishes some of the most intriguing research anywhere in the Geisteswissenschaften (vide War of the Words). For example, research reported there found that roach spray sells especially well among lower-class southern women because killing roaches represents a symbolic fantasy fulfillment for these consumers: they tend to regard roaches as very similar to their husbands. There was differential analysis to determine whether the larger size of the roaches was correlated, but...

Other research found that many overweight men deliberately buy shirts that are too tight because they want to emphasize their protuberant bellies.

(Domain name code for) Andorra.

Rec.Travel offers some links. The CIA Factbook has some basic information on Andorra.

A.D., AD
Anno Domini. Lat.: `(in the) year of (the) Lord.' There is a widespread incorrect belief that AD stands for ``After [Jesus's corporeal] Death.'' This would require three dating eras: Before, During, and After. As it happens, dating in more than three eras that include A.D. has been tried (see explanation at B.C. entry). Cf. CE.

One of the clever turns of phrase in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World was returning to the archaic form ``Year of our Lord,'' and naming years as ``Year of our [Henry] Ford.'' (I've seen AF used to represent this dating scheme, though I don't think it occurs in the book. Since it seems reasonable to treat Ford as a gens, the Latin nominative would probably be Fordius, yielding Anno Fordii.) The book begins in 632 AF, or 2540 AD, making 1909 of our era -- the year the Model T was introduced -- year one of the Fordian. The book was published in 1932. Perhaps the 632 date was selected to suggest an uneasy proximity in time. There may be something similar in the other classic dystopian story of the mid-twentieth century, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. The book was finished in nineteen forty-eight. (It was published in 1949, and Orwell himself was finished in 1950.)

Another expression, more common in Britain, was ``Year of our Grace.''

English is unusual, among European languages, in using a foreign-language expression to designate dates in the current era. It seems that most other languages now use a native expression for A.D. (as well as B.C.).

There is a sketchy introduction to Latin declensions in the A.M. entry that explains why, if you tried to find anno and domini in a Latin dictionary, the closest you'd probably come would be "annus, -i, m." and "dominus, -i, m."

If you wanted to be pretentious, you could read off ``A.D. 2000'' as ``Anno Domini 2000.' If you did that, however, you'd want to be consistently grammatical and use the plural for ``A.D. 2000-2004'': ``Annis Domini 2000-2004.'' If you have to look it up, you're probably safer saying ``ay dee 2000....''

The words century and decade were once used like dozen -- to refer to a number (100 and 10, like 12) of anything, but eventually the use became restricted to years. Hence, if we were to decline A.D. properly in ``1st century A.D.,'' it would be Annorum Domini -- `[century] of years of the Lord.' Here annorum is annum in the plural genitive form.

[column] Even in Late Roman times, this abbreviation, and mode of reckoning dates, was not used. The ASGLE serves two kinds of lists of epigraphic latin abbreviations, which include both common and at-all reported (in APh 1888-1993) meanings for AD.

Analog Devices semiconductor device prefix. They used to serve a nice glossary.

Analog-Digital. ADC is analog-to-digitial converter.

Application Development.

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Druckbehälter. German: `Pressure measurement Working Group.'

Assembly District. Most US states have bicameral legislatures, and the lower or larger house is often called the Assembly.

Assistant Director. In movie and TV-show production, this turns out to be a productive suffix. In fact, for clarity AD is often rendered as 1AD (for first assistant director), distinguished from the 2AD, 3AD, and 22AD. (22 = 3 mod show biz -- no wonder they have huge cost overruns! -- see the second second entry for details. Let me be clearer about that: I mean the first and only second second entry. Ummm, just follow the link.) Some productions have a 4AD. That hat may alternatively be labeled AAD (additional AD) or Key PA (key production assistant).

The novel The Second Assistant, by Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare, was published in 2004, and it is subtitled A Tale from the Bottom of the Hollywood Ladder. I decided to acquire the book for insights into the assistant-director pecking order of Hollywood, and to assure an adequately long and discursive AD section of the glossary. It was only after I had invested fifty cents in a previously read exemplar that I realized that the eponymous second assistant -- the heroine Elizabeth Miller -- was not any order of assistant director, but just a gofer at a talent agency. At least it saved me reading the book. (Skimming, however, I notice that at least one ``third assistant'' is mentioned.)

Athletic Director. A good athletic director lets the university president think that he (the president) is more important.

Look -- any doofus can come up with a weak pun involving athletic directors and athletic supporters. I'm just not any doofus, so I'm just not gonna.

ad, a.d.
Auris Dextra. Lat., `right ear.' Not the right one as opposed to the wrong one. The right one as opposed to the left one. That is, the one on the right side of your or anyone else's head. A good operational method for determining which is the right ear is to measure the distance between any given point on (preferably the outer surface of) the right shoulder and each ear. The shorter distance corresponds to the right ear. This method breaks down for owls, giraffes, and other neck contortionists, and for people without shoulders (or ears, though then it hardly matters). If you're having difficulty with these instructions, you probably need to have your head examined by a professional.

This stuff is more amusing to write than to read, I imagine, since if you're not in the mood you don't write it, but you could come upon the entry any time while reading, and the probability that you'll be in the right mood to read it then is zero. (That's not exactly zero. It's just ``more or less'' zero, except that it shouldn't be negative.) An earlier version of this entry advocated an operational definition involving a mirror, but since your own right ear is reflected as the left ear of your image, the wording was problematical.

These puppies usually come in pairs. The other one is a.s.

An alternative possible (well, conceivable anyway) translation of the Latin would be `fortunate ear.'

Academy of Dispensing Audiologists. Sounds like PEZ for the ear.

``The Academy of Dispensing Audiologists®, founded in 1976, provides valuable resources to the private practitioner in audiology and to other audiology professionals who have responsibility for the concerns of quality patient care and business operation.''

A heavily laden sentence like this is a sort of anagram that has to be unpacked: A ``quality patient'' does indeed provide ``valuable resources'' to the ``business operation,'' but you have to be a ``private practitioner'' to really tap into that cash.

Air-Defense Artillery.

American Dental Association.

American Diabetes Association. The main diabetes entry in this glossary is DM.

American Dietetic Association. The US ICDA member.

American Disability Association. Their three-point mission includes this somewhat disabled language: ``promote awareness of disability culture'' and ``enhance ... access to freedom.'' There is also a nice little demonstration of the atmospheric approach to adjectives, in which the adjective du jour is salted over any noun it might fit. Hence, a diverse diversity of diverse things are diversely described as ``diverse'': disabilities, a perspective, and employment opportunities.

Americans for Democratic Action. Organization formed in January 1947 at the Willard Hotel by Reinhold Niebuhr, Walter Reuther, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. This ADA played a pivotal role in the struggle to purge communist sympathizers from the Democratic party, and helped to defeat Henry Wallace's independent candidacy for the presidency in 1948.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Assistant District Attorney (DA).

Authorised Depository Agent.

Australian Dental Association.

Automatic Data Acquisitions. The putative acronym justification for naming a programming language after the Countess Ada Lovelace, a mathematician who became a supporter and explicator (``apologist,'' in the nonprejudicial sense) of Babbage's Analytical Engine.

Augusta Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852) is quite a feminist heroine, so it's not always safe for a person (as opposed to a relatively anonymous glossarist) to point out that there is some serious question as to whether her mathematical competence was all it is now cracked up to be.

The HBAP (Home of the Brave Ada Programmers) WWW Server has a pretty complete set of links. Unfortunately, they're only useful if you want to use Ada or coerce someone else to use it. And here's an Ada Clearinghouse. It boggles the mind. Okay, some minds.

Michael Neumann's extensive list of sample short programs in different programming languages includes source code for four Ada programs and identifies ALGOL and Simula as similar languages. If you just came here from the ALGOL entry, you shouldn't find that surprising. Now Simula, that almost sounds like a sexy language. Is there a Stimula? No? Why not?

Alberta Dental Assistants Association.

American Dental Assistants Association.

Anxiety Disorders Association of America. Is this partisan, or do they have an outreach program for Republicans?

American Dental Assistants Association Foundation. ``The Foundation is committed to enhancing the profession of dental assisting [thanks for the correction; I'd have thought it was called assistance], promoting education and research relevant to the industry and complimenting [oh, thank you again, I'm sure!] the efforts of the American Dental Assistants Association. The Foundation was established in 1992 by the Board of Trustees of the American Dental Assistants Association to augment the status of the dental assisting profession and further efforts for education and research related to the pursuit.''

Air-Directed Air-to-Air Missile.

Alberta Dental Association and College.

Italian for `at ease.' A common notation in sheet music, understood as `in a slow tempo' or `slow and graceful': slower than andante but faster than larghetto.

Spanish for `adage.'

Agencywide Documents Access and Management System.

Airport Development Aid Program. US government program. Read about it in an item from 1976.


Archaeological Data Archive Project.

(Also, Tumay Asena serves a Searchable database of archaeological publications.)

A data communications hw and sw company. See their homepage.

Asian Development Bank. Established in 1968 as part of a regional-development banking system sponsored by the UN. Headquartered in Manila, serving over fifty members, including the Central Asian states that used to be soviet republics. Japan and the US are the largest contributors of funds to the ADB, each responsible for providing a 16% share of the prescribed $23 billion capital. There's also an ADBI.

Fighting Poverty in Asia and the Pacific!

Between 1968 and 1999, Pakistan received loans worth $1.75 billion, making it the second-largest beneficiary of the bank's operations. About 55% of the loans came from the ADF. As soon as I find out which is the largest beneficiary of the bank, or whether any of the loans have ever been repaid, I'll be sure to insert that information.

Australian Dictionary of Biography.

ADaptive BeamForming.

Asian Development Bank Institute. ``Asian Development Bank Institute was established in December 1997 in Tokyo through the joint efforts of the ADB and the Government of Japan.''

Access Deficit Contribution[s]. According to A paper on universal telecommunications service in Europe (a so-called continent):
``The view in the United Kingdom is that British Telecom incurs additional costs by its licence obligation to provide universal service. OFTEL, its primary regulator, has accepted this and requires some of its competitors to pay Access Deficit Contributions.''

AIDS Dementia Complex.

Allyl Diglycol Carbonate. A plastic.

Amperes DC. Term parallel to AAC and VDC.

Analog-to-Digital (AD) Converter.

Automatic Data { Collection | Capture }.

Automatic Data Collection Association.

Asymmetric Double Cantilever Beam.

Antibody-Dependent Cell-mediated Cytotoxicity.

Advanced Data Communication Control Protocol. One of the high-level data link control (HDLC) family of protocols. I've seen the P expanded ``Procedures.''

Association for the Development of Computer-Based Instruction.

ADministrative COMmittee.

ADmissions COMmittee. This is the committee that admits responsibility after a disaster. It evidently has no connection with the adcom, which takes credit before the disaster.

Hmmm. That makes sense and all, but it's been suggested to me that the word admissions refers to students, somehow.

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler.

Accidental Death & Dismemberment. A kind of insurance coverage.

Analog-Digital-Digital. Audio CD's may be designated AAD, ADD, or DDD. The successive letters indicate whether analog or digital equipment was used in the respective stages of production: (1) original recording, (2) mixing and editing, (3) mastering (transcription).

Apostrophe Deficit Disorder. People with ADD aren't willing to add an apostrophe to arent. They can't write can't or don't write don't, but don't some of them write cant! And they won't write won't, but are wont to write wont. The disorder can afflict anyone's writin' and ever'one's readin', whether they're ignorant of the proper use of apostrophes or not. (In the latter case, ADD is a sort of ADD.)

Apostrophe Disorder Disorder. This disorder is manifested mostly in men's, women's, and children's failure to place the apostrophe after the ess when forming plural nouns' possessive forms.

A shorter way o' writin' ``Apostrophic Dis'rder D'sorder,'' which is short for Apostrophic Disorder Disorder, whate'er that'd be.

Attention Deficit Disorder. ADHD is used more often now.

Attention Deficit Disorder Association.

A kind of snake that goeth-forth-and-multiplieth with logs.

Actual true fact: the word adder used to be nadder, but people hearing `a nadder' thought they heard `an adder,' and ignorance triumphed. (The Old English word was nædre.)

Changing in the opposite way, newt evolved from ewt, though the alternative eft did not get tagged. The same error occurred with awl (the cobbler's tool), which was often called nawl in the 15th through 17th centuries. For a similar example, see the nonce entry. The word druthers is based on a reananlysis of ``I'd rather,'' but here I think the error is intentional. These are generally instances of mistaken analysis of phrases. When the result is the loss of an initial sound, it is evidently an instance of apheresis.

A somewhat similar process is believed to have played a role in the evolution of our word orange. The fruit and the word both entered Europe from the Arabic-speaking world, and the Arabic name is typically transcribed naranj, close to the Persian (narang) and South Asian names (e.g., Sanskrit naranga). The Spanish (naranja), Medieval Greek (nerántzion), and early Italian (narancia) names all preserve or preserved the initial consonant, as some regional Italian varieties still do (e.g., Venetian naranza).

The English word comes from the Old French (contemporary with Middle English) orenge. The initial en is believed to have been lost in French (and later in Italian) at least somewhat as it was lost from nadder; the repeated en in une norenge (please don't hold me to the spelling) being simplified to une orenge (une orange, in Modern French). An added factor is that in medieval Latin manuscripts, the name of the fruit became associated through its color with the word for gold (aurum). (German has, in addition to a French cognate, the word Apfelsinne -- `apple of Zion.')

Going only slightly further afield, Ancient Greek had a common pun based on the preposition apo, which is contracted to ap' before a vowel: apo nou means `from a mind'; ap' onou means `from an ass.' This is especially compelling spoken or when written, as was once the case, without word spacing. I suppose that if in doubt, you could split the difference and translate this as `out of mind.'

Antarctic Data Directory System.

Army Data Distribution System.

Address. I didn't make this up. I saw it in a mailing list posting.

Registered trademark of an award bestowed by the AAF. May the Lord have mercy on your wretched soul.

Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis. See ADEM.

Advanced Development Environment.

Arizona Department of Education.

Asociación de Dirigentes de Empresa. Argentine `Association of Business Managers.' The name adopted in 1983 by the organization that had been, since its founding in 1942, the ADV (for `sales managers').

Association of Departments of English (and of writing programs and divisions of humanities).

American Dental Education Association. Formerly AADS. (Don't just follow the link! It's a game -- you're supposed to try to guess first.)

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (of 1967).

Here's the closing paragraph of an Ole Miss job advertisement of September 2002:

The University of Mississippi is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA Employer.

If it weren't for acronyms and law-code numbering, job postings would consist mostly of disclaimer text. See the AA/EOE entry for more on want-ad etiquette.

Asociación de Bancos Argentinos. `Association of Argenitine Banks.' If La trama política de la apertura económica en la Argentina (1987-1996), by Aníbal Viguera (Ediciones al Margen, 2000), had an index, then I might be able to tell you ... Ah, here we go (pp. 45-6): ADEBA was a grouping of Argentine banks; while ABRA (you shouldn't ask) represented foreign banking with a presence in Argentina, and included Argentine subsidiaries of some of Argentina's largest foreign creditors. In the 1990's, reform of the financial sector led to the near disappearance of privately owned Argentine banks, and in 1998 ABRA and ADEBA merged to become ABA.

[dive flag]

Asia Dive Exhibition and Conference. Why would they want to exhibit or conference at a dive? Don't they have any nice places?

Association of Death Education and Counseling. ``Death Education''? Just do what comes naturally -- it's as easy as falling down. It seems a waste to train for something you'll only do once or twice.

Acute Disseminated EncephaloMyelitis. Acute inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. A risk of many vaccines. It used to be especially common with antirabies vaccine, when its manufacture used animal spinal-cord cultures.

An important port of Yemen, located on -- get this: the Gulf of Aden. Alright, I admit I don't care either. I'm only putting this entry here to lay the groundwork for possible future humor opportunities. (Wordplay, linguistic subversion, whatever.) So we're prepositioning. It's a sleeper. It's the Manchurian Entry. You are getting verrry sleeeeepy. When I say ``control gee,'' you will wake up and have no recollection that this glossary entry ever took place.

American Dance Festival. Terry Teachout had a tutorial eulogy for American Dance in the July 1996 issue of Commentary.

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Dermatologische Forschung. German `Dermatology Research Working Group.'

Asian Development Fund. The arm of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that extends ``soft loans'' -- loans at zero interest.

She worryin' about the back rent -- Hah!
She be lucky to get the front rent!

George Thorogood, ``Housewoman Blues''

The nice thing about soft loans is that when you finally admit that they're nonperforming, you only have to write off the principal, and not any expected interest. Always remember: the key to long-term sustainable virtue (particularly charity) is doing it on someone else's nickel.

Automatic Direction Finder. A/k/a radio direction finder. [Avionics.]

Automatic Document Feeder. When the ADF light goes on on the photocopier, that's what's malfunctioning.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game. In 1998, their Hunter Education and Hunter Services statewide programs were joined to form the Hunter Information and Training program: HIT. It's gratifying to see that even governmental organizations are finally coming around to see the importance of felicitous acronyms. Trailer: A future glossary entry will celebrate a similar achievement by the postal service of a nearby country.

ad finem, ad fin.
Latin: `at [or near] the end,' in full and common abbreviated forms.

Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaïre.

Association of Departments of Foreign Languages.

(NASA's) Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility. Became DFRF, now DFRC.

Alcohol DeHydrogenase. One of three enzymes important in the formation of volatile compounds in ripening fruit (see the LOX entry).

AntiDiuretic Hormone.

Arkansas Department of Health.

American Dental Hygienists' Association.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Same as ADD.

Oliver Herford and an actor protected by anonymity are supposed to have had the following exchange once:
	     Anon.: I'm a smash hit.  Why, yesterday during the last act,
		    I had everyone glued to their seats!
	   Herford: Wonderful!  Wonderful!  Clever of you to think of it!

See also prosthetics and URW.

Near the end, if not exactly in the last act, of Rocky Horror Picture Show, Frank-N-Furter immobilizes his prey with a sonic transducer. When Brad Majors says ``It's as if we're glued to the spot!'' the standard audience response is ``My socks! I can't move my socks!''

American Digestive Health Foundation. A conspiracy of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) working together to ``advance digestive health through financial support of research and education in the causes, prevention, treatment, and cure of digestive diseases. To advance its digestive agenda [sic], the foundation has established four independent ...'' Look, you know that all they really want to do is ``advance'' your health by making you feel guilty about eating food that tastes good instead of diced bean sprouts in tepid spring water.

Add homonym
Fishy as a tack.

Acceptable Daily Intake. The plural (ADIs or ADI's, depending on your punctuation convention) also occurs.

After-Develop Inspection.

Alternating-Direction Implicit. A class of numerical integration schemes that mix implicit evolution along one dimension with explicit along the remainder, cycling the direction that is integrated implicitly. The compromise has the stability that one cannot get from purely explicit evolution, but is often much more tractable than fully implicit schemes.

Alzheimer's Disease International.

Analog Devices, Inc.

Association of Dental Implantology UK.

Attitude Direction Indicator.

A diamond is forever.
An advertising slogan created for the DeBeers cartel by the Ayer advertising agency. Of course, at room temperature diamond is an unstable allomorph of carbon. Eventually, and a lot sooner if you cook it, it turns to graphite. As advertising slogans go, however, this one is still pretty accurate.

Analog/Digital Input/Output.

Good-bye in Spanish. `To God' (a Dios) contracted to one word. I suppose it's short for some earlier longer phrase that expressed a more complete thought, but offhand I don't know particularly. French has the similar adieu, which was borrowed into German and eventually corrupted into tschüss.

Air Data and Inertial Reference Unit.

A.D.I. (Sc.), A.D.I. (Science)
Assistant Director of Intelligence (SCience). This abbreviation occurs in Wizard War; it was the position held by the book's author within the British Air Ministry during WWII. Post-war, the position was elevated to D. of I. (R).


Adj, adj.
Adjective. Ancient Greek grammarians did not regard this as a separate part of speech. They grouped what we now call nouns and adjectives together in one part of speech. Now you're beginning to understand why the old philosophers are often translated as having written stuff like ``the wet'' or ``the warm.''

Greek is inflected, so it is not surprising that word order is looser than in English. Things could get sticky, however. Greek has verbal expressions like to hygiainein, which literally translated would be something like `the to be healthy.' The definite article to is specifically the neuter singular. A reasonable translation of the phrase is `a state of good health' -- note that the distinction between definite and indefinite (indicated by the absence of a definite article) is not as sharp in Greek (or in most languages that have the distinction) as it is in English.

Some languages don't have words that fit our lexical category of adjectives. These languages typically use verbs to express ideas we use adjectives for -- something like ``the man goods'' for ``the man is good.'' The German verb schweigen is like that; it means `to be silent' the same way to roar in English means ``to be roaring.''

(Brazilian) Associação de Diabetes Juvenil.

Australian Dental Journal.

adjectives ending in -ly
This list is only as complete as I was able to make it before I began to feel like doing something more interesting, like HTML mark-up:
  1. aldermanly
  2. bimonthly
  3. birdly
  4. biweekly
  5. bodily
  6. brambly
  7. brotherly
  8. bubbly
  9. burly
  10. canoodly
  11. chilly
  12. clerkly
  13. comely
  14. costly
  15. courtly
  16. cowardly
  17. crawly
  18. crinkly
  19. crumbly
  20. cuddly
  21. curly
  22. curmudgeonly
  23. daily
  24. dangly
  25. dastardly
  26. daughterly
  27. deadly
  28. disorderly
  29. doctorly
  30. early
  31. easterly
  32. eely
  33. elderly
  34. fatherly
  35. fortnightly
  36. friendly
  37. frilly
  38. gainly
  39. gangly
  40. gentlemanly
  41. ghastly
  42. ghostly
  43. giggly
  44. gingerly
  45. girly
  46. gnarly
  47. godly
  48. goggly
  49. goodly
  50. googly
  51. grandfatherly
  52. grandmotherly
  53. gravelly
  54. grisly
  55. growly
  56. grumbly
  57. heavenly
  58. hilly
  59. holy
  60. homely
  61. hourly
  62. husbandly
  63. jangly
  64. jingly
  65. jolly
  66. jumbly
  67. kindly
  68. kingly
  69. knightly
  70. knobbly
  71. knubbly
  72. lawyerly
  73. leisurely
  74. likely
  75. lively
  76. lonely
  77. lordly
  78. lovely
  79. lowly
  80. maidenly
  81. manly
  82. marbly
  83. masterly
  84. matronly
  85. mealy
  86. measly
  87. melancholy
  88. miserly
  89. monthly
  90. motherly
  91. mumbly
  92. needly
  93. neighborly
  94. nightly
  95. northeasterly
  96. northerly
  97. northwesterly
  98. nubbly
  99. oily
  100. only
  101. orderly
  102. pearly
  103. pebbly
  104. portly
  105. prickly
  106. princely
  107. puddly
  108. pugly (this one is slang [< pug ugly], so it's okay if you didn't know it)
  109. purply
  110. quarterly
  111. queenly
  112. ripply
  113. rumbly
  114. scaly
  115. scholarly
  116. scraggly
  117. scrawly
  118. shambly
  119. shapely
  120. sickly
  121. silly
  122. sisterly
  123. slatternly
  124. slovenly
  125. sly
  126. smelly
  127. snarly
  128. sniffly
  129. snively, snivelly
  130. snuggly
  131. southeasterly
  132. southerly
  133. southwesterly
  134. sparkly
  135. spiderly
  136. spindly
  137. spinsterly
  138. sprawly
  139. spritely
  140. squally
  141. squealy
  142. squiggly
  143. squirrelly
  144. stately
  145. statesmanly
  146. straggly
  147. studly
  148. surly
  149. swirly
  150. teacherly
  151. timely
  152. tingly
  153. tinkly
  154. tinselly
  155. touchy-feely
  156. unearthly
  157. unfriendly
  158. ungainly
  159. ungodly
  160. unholy
  161. unlikely
  162. unmanly
  163. unwomanly
  164. unruly
  165. unscholarly
  166. unsightly
  167. untimely
  168. unworldly
  169. waddly
  170. weaselly
  171. weekly
  172. westerly
  173. whirly
  174. wiggly
  175. wifely
  176. wily
  177. wobbly
  178. womanly
  179. woolly
  180. worldly
  181. wriggly
  182. wrinkly
  183. yearly
  184. yeomanly
  185. yonderly

Some of these, particularly those having to do with time periods, also function as adverbs. I've omitted nouns that function attributively (i.e., adjectivally), as in assembly hall, fly paper, jelly doughnut, lily pad, etc. I've also omitted many of the possibly nonce forms that arise from the still-productive un- prefix (unmaidenly, unstately, etc.). Some -ly adjectives arise from the application of -y to words ending in l or le, and this is also still productive. The latest such production in the above list is probably canoodly. The -ly ending itself is still producing adjectives. I think birdly is a jocular recent instance.

Activities of Daily Living. As opposed to the activities of hourly or fortnightly living. YMMV.

The quotidian activities normally referred to as ADL's include eating, dressing and bathing. I've had days when I omitted to do one of these. More advanced stuff comes under the IADL heading.

Advanced Distributed Learning.

Advances in Digital Libraries. A conference.

Alexandria Digital Library.

A netlist format.

Anti-Defamation League. Of the Bnai-Brith.

To adlect (to or into a rank or role) is (or rather was) to use the power of adlection to so elevate a person or persons.

Appointment to a governing body (especially the Roman Senate) or elevation to a position of higher status, by decision of the emperor as opposed to election. The verb adlect was backformed from this, evidently on the pattern of elect, election. Adlection was introduced by the first Roman emperor, Julius Caesar, and the term seems to be used only in reference to the pre-medieval Roman empires.

Advanced Database Linkages In Biotechnology. Apparently defunct when I looked for it in January 2005.


ad lib.
Latin ad libitum, roughly `as one wishes.' The word libitum is constructed from the past participle of libere, `to please.' Ad libitum is used in musical notation to indicate that a movement may be omitted or altered by the performer. Of course, the performer may omit or alter whatever he likes, or unintentionally, but this is the way the thing is stated. What it really means is that the composer is inviting the performer to improvise. The usual definition entails the polite and not unreasonable assumption that the performer normally attempts to follow the composer's specific intentions closely.

ad lib
Adverb meaning `extemporaneously, in an improvised way.' A somewhat extended use of the Latin ad lib. Like native prepositional phrases, this adverbial is placed after the verb. (``He spoke ad lib.'')

Improvisational or extemporaneous. An adjective applied mostly to speech productions in social intercourse. I said ``social,'' you pervert!

ad lib
Improvisation. A noun referring mostly to speech productions in social intercourse. I hope that explanation was clear; I just made it up off the top of my head.

A word game called Mad Libs®, which produced absurd phrases, was popular in ancient times (created by Leonard Stern and Roger Price in 1953, and first available commercially around 1958). This probably contributed to the popularity of the term ``ad lib'' among the unwashed masses and to its use as a noun, and to the general decline of civilization.

Verb meaning `improvise,' particularly in a speech or other performance. Derived from ad lib. Sometimes written without the hyphen.


ad loc.
Latin, ad locum. `at the location ....'

You're probably asking: ``like, where else, dude?''

Adaptive Device Locator System. It's kind of fun even if you're not looking for anything, like window[s] shopping.

I pronounce ADLS as ``addles.'' You should too.

Academy of Dental Materials. ``The Academy of Dental Materials was founded in 1941 as a consortium of dental professionals who were interested in the development and application of new materials to dental care. The objectives of the Academy are: 1) to provide a forum for the exchange of information on all aspects of dental materials; 2) to enhance communication between industry, researchers and practicing dentists; 3) to encourage dental materials research and its applications; and 4) to promote dental materials through its activities.''

Adaptive-Delta Modulation.

Add/Drop Multiplexer. See also ADM 3X.

ADM, Adm.
ADMinistrat{ or | ion }. Cf. sysadmin.

Adm., ADM
ADMiral[ty]. See VADM for the etymology of admiral.

Archer Daniels Midland. ``Supermarket to the world'' in the opaque description given in the sponsor segments of public TV. Apparently the antitrust division of the Treasury Department decided it meant ``lecithin price-fixer for the world.''

An article entitled ``3 Giant Feed Companies Agree to Settle Price-Fixing Charges'' in the Wednesday, August 28, 1996 New York Times (C1 -- first page of the business section) describes Archer Daniels as a ``giant grain concern that has long been one of the nation's most influential and politically powerful corporations.'' The article reported that Kyowa Hakko Kogyo of Japan and Sewon America, Inc. would plead guilty, and Ajinmoto Company of Japan no contest in a plea bargain on criminal charges concerning an alleged conspiracy to fix prices in the 600 megabuck market for the food additive lysine, which they produce. In the agreement, one executive from each of the companies pleads guilty to a criminal charge and provides testimony and documents for an investigation whose apparent central target was ADM. I haven't been keeping up with this story, but I was always curious about this sponsor of public broadcasting programs.

In September 1998, three former executives of ADM Co. were convicted of conspiring with Japanese and Korean competitors to fix prices and allocate production for lysine. On July 9, 1999, they were sentenced to prison terms. It was a really weird situation (and I really mean that): the government informant Mark Whitacre had been embezzling millions from the company after alerting Federal investigators to the price-fixing scheme in 1992. He got a nine-year term for that, which he was already serving on July 9. Prosecutors had argued that the two others sentenced, Michael Andreas (son of former chairman Dwayne Andreas) and Terrance Wilson, had masterminded the scheme. Judge Blanche Manning ruled that they had not, but that Whitacre (their subordinate) was a manager of the conspiracy. The lawyers for Andreas and Wilson objected to this unexplained ruling, and the lawyer for Whitacre did not -- all strange since managing the conspiracy increased culpability and, under Federal sentencing guidelines, required Whitacre's sentence to be increased. I'm sure there's something important here that I'm not understanding, and I don't think it's résumé padding.

Arnowitt-Deser-Misner. The ADM split is a procedure for recoordinatizing a patch of spacetime into a decomposed canonical form expressed in terms of the three-space metric and a lapse function and shift function (a three-vector) that represent how different time slices fit together.

Assyrian Democratic Movement. A movement of Assyrians in Iraq.

Last year I got into a conversation with the limo driver on the way to Newark Airport, and I took a guess from accent and appearance that he was Serbian. He said that I was close -- he was from Turkey. So he was Turkish? No, Aramean. My jaw fell off. I knew who the Arameans were, er, are! His turn to drop jaw.

Average Daily Membership.

Aviation Distributors and Manufacturers Association.

MASS-media ADvertising. An acronym, with plural admasses. One hardly needs to be reminded that Madison Avenue is a philistine enemy of the English language. All three major Scrabble dictionaries accept this word, but TWL98 draws the line at the plural.

Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion.

Short for sysadmin. Cf. Adm.

Admission is free and open to the general public.
It's educational, so no one is interested. If they said that admission is selective and you have to stay for four years, they could charge $100,000.

Association of the Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry. Mark Reed of Dartmouth Medical College is a member. Mark Reed is a member of the Electrical Engineering Faculty at Yale. This would be quite interesting if they were the same person. For related ruminations, see the Johnson entry.

Add/Drop Multiplexer (AMD) for DS3.

Acción Democrática Nacionalista. Spanish: `Nationalist Democratic Action,' a Bolivian political party.

Ácido desoxirribonucleico. Spanish for `DNA,' q.v. (The doubling of the r of ribo- after the prefix is conventional for Spanish: the sound of initial r is much closer to that of -rr- than to that of -r- within a word -- cf. ARN.)

ADN, adn
Any Day Now. Chatese, texting abbreviation.

Pigs will fly. (I mean fly economy class.)

Associate's Degree in Nursing.

Ancient DNA.

(Microsoft) ActiveX Data Object[s].

Army Digitization Office.

Assyrian Democratic Organization.

One time when I took a limousine from my mother's house to Newark Airport (EWR), the driver asked me to guess where he was from. Looking at his face and not the displayed cabbie ID, I guessed he was from Serbia or thereabouts, and he said I wasn't too far off. He was from Istanbul, and he was an Aramean. He was astounded that I knew what an Aramean was, and I was astounded that there were still people who call themselves Arameans. It was like going fishing and reeling in a coelacanth. The cab companies that serve the New York-area airports really go out of their way to give you a cosmopolitan experience.

Oh -- I see I already told this story at the ADM entry. Anyway, he treated the terms ``Assyrian'' and ``Aramaic'' as equivalent. There's a historical reason for this.

ADO, Ado
Common abbreviation for Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing.

Sun-dried (i.e., not oven-fired) clay (Nontechnical term: mud) bricks (typically with straw inside); also the material for those bricks, and buildings made from such bricks. Appropriate only in dry climates, since the mud dissolves away in the rain; still, pre-Columbian pyramids in Mexico still stand, while limestone pyramids in Egypt are dissolving in the acidic rain. Adobe bricks tend to be much larger than standard (concrete) bricks.

Adobe Flash plugin has crashed
Adobe Flash plugin is dysfunctioning normally.

Adobe Systems Inc.
Adobe made PostScript and makes a variety of related software products. More than with most software, there is some confusion about what PostScript and Adobe fonts are.

The thing to understand about fonts generally is that text and graphics are treated very differently (by printers and by computers and computer screens). While in principle, there is no difference between the physical method used to produce the image of an alphabetic character or a graphic of the same size, in terms of raw memory there is a great difference: the single black-and-white graphic (no grayscale) takes as much memory as the single character, but a page of text contains many repetitions of the same characters, while every character-size region of graphic requires its own memory-hogging description.

Adobe fonts are different kinds of character descriptions. Adobe fonts (type 1) are described not by bit maps but by parameters for scalable curves that define the boundaries of a character.

Associated Dealers Of Europe. A Dutch-based B2B group. They have tabs for Audi, Volkswagen, Land Rover, Peugeot (the French connection), and Seat. ADOE's website says it ``is specialised in sourcing new cars within the EU for delivery in the United Kingdom.'' Audi and Seat are VW subsidiaries, and Peugeot is the second-largest European automaker after VW. I don't get what Land Rover is doing there, exactly. ADOE demonstrates a charming versatility in sourcing UK-manufactured cars for delivery in the UK. Ford-owned Land Rover was put up for sale in June 2007. (It's still up for sale as of this writing, September 2007.)

Assistant DON. Not a mafia usage. Look, just follow the link, nobody will get hurt.

Article Delivery Over Network Information Systems. The way journal subscription prices have been rising over the past few years (say 10-15% per year, with a fraction of that figured to compensate for the libraries that cancel), it seems 1996 will see rapid growth in electronic journal access. The main journals in which I have published are all moving to put their articles on line.

Gee, now it's the year 2000 and I'm still reading hard-copy.

{Administrative | Advanced | Automat{ic|ed}} Data Processing.

Adenosine DiPhosphate. Vide ATP.

Aéroports de Paris. Operates Roissy-CDG and Aéroport d'Orly (ORY).

Ammonium Dihydrogen Phosphate (NH4H2PO4). Along with KDP a popular crystal for second-harmonic generation in nonlinear optics. Cleveland Crystals offers a tutorial. Cf. AD*P.

Deuterated ADP (q.v.): Ammonium dideuterium phosphate. They even use deuterated ammonia. (ND4D2PO4). Most properties, as one would expect, are similar to the majority-isotope ADP. However, the piezoelectric coefficients can be almost a factor of as much as five larger for fully-deuterated AD*P.

Adaptive Differential Pulse Code Modulation. ITU-TS standard for voice digitization and compression, for transmission on up-to-32Kbps channel. Differs from mere DPCM in decreasing the sampling rate when samples vary more slowly.

Dallas Semiconductor lists some here.

Alcohol & Drug Program Administration of the ``Los Angeles County Department of Health Services - Public Health,'' which you're welcome to parse yourself.

Automated Data Processing Equipment.

Automated Data Processing System.

Architects, Designers & Planners for Social Responsibility.

ad q.s.
See q.s. (That's not what it means; it's what you should do.)

Accident Data Recorder.

Achievable Data Rate.

Additional Dialogue Replacement. It is really additional, because it's usually a ``replacement'' for something that wasn't there in the first place. It's not usually what you would call dialogue either. It's also expanded as ``Automatic Dialogue Replacement,'' although it doesn't seem especially automatic. Many initialisms conceal inappropriate expansions, but this one is outstanding. Well, it stands out, anyway. What the initialism really needs is additional work, replacing the work that was not initially done in creating it, and which isn't just dialogue.

Okay, a little more directly, with the stern warning that the explanation following is written by someone outside the industry (that would be me) who is just trying his best, or maybe his second best. The movie industry has a number of terms for various related kinds of work that it finds important to distinguish. (The pay scales are different; that'd make it important to you too.) Some of this technical terminology refers to ``dialogue,'' which in the industry can mean any utterance of the human voice, even if it is a monologue or a scream. (Sometimes the oddity of including howls in ``dialogue'' seems a bit much, and they refer to ``dialogue and vocalizations.'')

If the dialogue of an individual artist visible on screen is replaced by the same artist, that is called dubbing or post-synchronization. If the visible actor's voice is replaced with someone else's voice, that is revoicing. (Yes, this is also inconsistent with ordinary usage for foreign-language dubbing.) Dialogue can also be a voice-over or commentary out of vision, which may or may not be recorded by a voice actor who appears and is represented as being the speaker. The movie ``What's Up Tiger Lily?'' offers an example of the latter. The studio took it out of Woody Allen's hands when it was 60 minutes long and lengthened it by adding 19 minutes of perfectly irrelevant footage of the ``Lovin' Spoonful'' and added commentary by someone mimicking Woody Allen's voice. (Don't tell me that for that kind of movie, irrelevance is a plus; I said it was ``perfectly'' irrelevant.) In the closing credits, Allen's commentary is also revoiced. Or perhaps the precise lingo would have the movie just recommented there.

Dubbing, post-sync, and revoicing are closely related to the performance of an individual character seen on screen. Voice-overs and commentary are a step removed from this: they are the performances of individual characters, however sketchily identified, who are not on screen. As explained in this pay-scales agreement (see Appendix FI, on p. 48), A.D.R. (Additional Dialogue Replacement or Automatic Dialogue Replacement) is not predominantly concerned with performance in character but has to do with the creation of atmosphere and general characteristic sounds and dialogue to fit with the action, often over crowd scenes.

Adiabatic Demagnetization Refrigerator.

Aggregate Data Rate.

Alternative Dispute Resolution. Mediation or arbitration (vide AAA).

Alzheimer's Disease Research. The name, in the linked instance, of a program of AHAF.

American Depository Receipt. A common way for foreign firms to list on the NYSE. A number of shares are bought and transferred to a US-based trust, and then receipts representing the shares are issued and traded in the US. By breaking up the group of shares outstanding into pools traded separately, one avoids the use of a foreign transfer agent.

Besides avoiding those hassles, it has an additional positive advantage. An ADR may represent more than one share of the original stock, and this allows the normal price range of a board lot to be conformed to different exchanges: For example, the usual prices for shares traded on the FTSE are about a tenth of the prices seen on the NYSE, and would run afoul of ``penny stock'' rules on shorting and margin in many brokerages. The ADR's for British Telecom and British Steel each represent 10 real shares.

It seems like things might get trickier if one wanted to go in the other direction: trade in receipts for US shares at prices conventional for FTSE.

ASTRA Digital Radio. ASTRA is a European satellite system. The system was proposed by the Société Européenne des Satellites (SES).

Automated Dialogue Replacement. I've seen this described as a ``process by which dialogue recorded on-set is replaced after the event in more controlled studio conditions'' but the process is unclear to me. See this other ostensibly equivalent ``ADR'' for other stuff I don't understand.

Agence des douanes et du revenu du Canada. English name: Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA). It used to be called Revenu Canada (RevCan), but they changed the name in 1999. If you were waiting for this glossary to alert you to the change, you may have some late penalties to pay.

In fact, the ADRC (or the CCRA, if you prefer) no longer exists as such. Wait, wait, don't cheer yet. The taxman just discarded some of his less lucrative distractions and changed his name. Now you pay taxes to the ARC (CRA in English).

A French word for the side of a mountain (more) exposed to the sun. See ubac.

ADR gauge
Analog-to-Digital Recording (tide) gauge.

Analysis of Dispersal Risk Occurring In Transportation. Simulation code developed at Sandia National Laboratories for the Defense Programs Transportation Risk Analysis study. Used to evaluate the accident risk posed by the expected transfers of weapons, plutonium, weapons components, and tritium reservoirs. This code can accept ERAD data sets to model explosively driven events.

Advanced Digital System.

Advanced Distributed Simulation. Cf. DIS.

Alaska Dental Society. I-I-I c-c-can't-t st-top ch-chat-ter-ering!

Alternative Depreciation System.

American Dialect Society. Their homepage claims: ``Founded more than a century ago, the American Dialect Society still is the one scholarly association dedicated to the study of the English language in North America - and of other languages or dialects of other languages influencing it or influenced by it.''

Founded 1889, a constituent society of the ACLS since 1962. ACLS has an overview.

Anti-de Sitter (space).

Archaeology Data Service. It ``supports research, learning and teaching with high quality and dependable digital resources. It does this by preserving digital data in the long term, and by promoting and disseminating a broad range of data in archaeology. The ADS promotes good practice in the use of digital data in archaeology, it provides technical advice to the research community, and supports the deployment of digital technologies.''

ADS, ads
Astrophysics Data System. Funded by NASA.

Automated Data System.

Autonomous Decentralized System[s]. There's an international symposium -- ISADS.

Air-Directed Surface-to-Air Missile.

Association of Drilled Shaft Contractors, originally founded in 1972. It now styles itself ``ADSC: The International Association of Foundation Drilling.'' (See the sealed acronym entry for similar name evolutions.)

ADSC's flagship periodical is called Foundation Drilling. My comments on it are based on the issue of June/July 2007. It's a saddle-stitched heavy-paper glossy of approximately 78 inside pages, four-color throughout, with good non-smearing ink and probably quite healthy advertising revenue. One of the regular features is called ``Slide Rules.'' It sure does.

[Phone icon]

American Dialect Society (email discussion) List. A mailing list ``for members of the American Dialect Society [ADS] and interested others. Our primary topic of conversation is dialects of North American English, but we do wander off topic frequently.''

Archives searchable back to 1992.

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber { Line | Loop }. A telecommunications protocol for standard (plain ol' copper) phone lines with a nominal data rate of 6.144 Mbps, originally intended for MPEG compressed video. Here're a couple of pages of semitechnical description. Here's an explanation that's a bit more useful if you know Japanese. It also helps if you visited it before it went 404. Whatis?com offers a little information.

``Asymmetric'' refers to the fact that the downstream half of the duplex (from central office (CO) to home) accommodates 6.144 Mbps, while upstream is only 640Kbps. The multiplexing is by OFDM.

AppleTalk Data Stream Protocol.

ATM Data Service Unit (DSU).

Abstract Data Type.

ADulT. Airline fare abbreviation. Child is CHD.

Army Doctrine and Training Digital Library. They offer an acronym search.

Automated Digital Terminal Systems.

Advanced Definition TeleVision. Name preferred by FCC over HDTV.

Accessory Dwelling Unit. A separate housing arrangement within a single-family home. An ADU, according to Medicare is ``a complete living unit and includes a private kitchen and bath.''

adult beverage
I just heard this term in a radio advertisement. It can't just mean ``alcoholic beverage,'' because that would make it a pointless euphemism. It must have a more specific meaning. It's a funny term. Cocktails usually have funny names. ``Cocktail'' itself is a funny name. An ``Adult Beverage'' is probably a bourbon and Geritol on ice.

adult education
An attractive single woman of my acquaintance is looking for a man. (It has been made clear to me with really quite unnecessary emphasis that I am not that man.) She's in a hurry, so she signed up for some evening classes (ooh, I'm takin' it on the chin). You know: get out, get into circulation, meet people ... of the appropriate gender. Appropriate people of the appropriate gender. (Latest update: she didn't find the man. She went to plan B: IVF-assisted single motherhood. Gary was as weirded out as I was, and he also thought I was takin' it on the chin. I haven't even told him that she's doing another round, for gender balance or whatever. See the Oxbridge entry for whole population segments takin' it on the chin.)

In one course, she visited eight different jazz clubs in as many weeks. Enrollment: eight women, zero men. Maybe this is understandable. The other course (there's precedent for calling this sort of thing a ``course'') is like the jazz club thing but with pubs. Night classes focusing on pubs, homework measured in mugs and pitchers -- you'd expect some men might sign up for this sort of education, and you'd be right. Enrollment: sixteen women, two men. One of the men actually showed up. For the second, uh, class meeting, fewer women showed up. I guess they just didn't have a sincere interest in ale.

Single women go in for adult ``education''; single men go in for ``adult'' books. (Book)Mark my words, it'll come to this: adult education courses about adult books. You'll know why. Lesson I: how to tell a romance novel from an adult book by its cover. (Romance novels are swash-font positive.)

The term ``student body'' will never have the same meaning for me again. (Not that it ever did, though.)

Ladies, here's a good kind of course to take to meet guys: driver safety courses. Check out the PTD entry for details. The sex distribution is a bit more representative of the driving population, but getting signed up for this is trickier than for beer or jazz-club education. Still, it may not be necessary for you to get caught speeding; maybe you could arrange to impede the flow of traffic or something. Check out the laws in your state.

Robert says a course in Internet Technology that he took at Stanford had a fairly even gender distribution, but most students were married. A Japanese language course he took in the mid-nineties had a reasonable distribution of singles also. Alright, more good ideas for the lonely cardiac muscle: one of my guard pals at the library, by way of conclusion to his regular rant about incompetent library management, says he's been married to his wife for about a century (I didn't catch the precise figure), ``God bless her. BUT, of the 200 employees in the library, 180 are women, and THAT's the problem.'' I told him that this wasn't going to change anytime soon. Light bulb! One for the guys! There's even a cute one working at circ, and they have a regular turn-over of work-study girls.

Getting back to that liquid culture course, you know, I'm wondering just what kind of ``man'' would let someone else tell him what brew he should drink. Hmm. Well, the first pub I entered the first time I visited England, I said to the barmaid ``I don't know the beers here. What do I want to drink?'' I figured she would recommend whatever people with my accent drink. She chose a Foster's. I liked it, and I'm not even from Oz. (There should be more about the Aussie accent at the Polish entry. More accurate stuff, anyway. But there isn't.)

Update 2002: there's another text-based mate-search tool: personals! In my continuing [throat-clearing noises] sociological research, I have become aware of a paperback tome entitled Playing the Personals, based on research by one Claudia Beakman, assisted by experienced author Karla Dougherty. On page 9 they state

Personals Commandment #1:

Thou Shalt Not Be Embarrassed
As they explain, ``it's time for personals to shake off the stigma and come out of the closet.''

Well, heartened by this, let me stride right out of the closet into the foyer and finally get this off my chest: I admit it, I uh, I use the personals. (You probably haven't recognized me from my ads, since there I'm taller, leaner, younger, wealthier, more cultured and yet more down-to-earth, and all-around more impressive, but I'm still that same old modest, honest Al that you've never met.) Hmm. It says here on the back cover that ``Claudia Beakman is a pseudonym for a vice president of a major television company.'' Oh. Thanks, girlfriend.

Anyway, the relevance to this entry (``adult education,'' remember?) comes on page 7. (And maybe further on; I haven't, like, made a thorough review of the text, you know?) The dilemma is posed, and brand-X dating strategies are fairly reviewed and trashed:

Over the years, you've ... spent a fortune taking courses you had no interest in pursuing. You've taken scuba lessons even though you don't know how to swim. You've spent hours in art museums and libraries, and all this culture has been grand, but your feet ache and you're getting tired and you're still alone.

It turns out that the answer is as simple as reading your newspaper, once you've got this volume of expert advice, which you can purchase at finer book discount warehouses anywhere. I got mine off a dollar table at Bargain Books. They have a location near you if you live between Ann Arbor and Chicago. (More about this chain at the OOP entry.)

I probably should have mentioned earlier that there's an emerging, or sharpening, semantic distinction between ``adult education'' and ``continuing education,'' at least in the US. ``Adult education'' is tending to mean remedial education: high-school education for adults who dropped out (possibly before they were adults). Many attend adult education classes in order to earn a GED. Increasingly in contrast, ``continuing education'' refers to college courses taken by adults not matriculated for a degree. (Often they're preparing for a certification, like MOUS.)

FLASH! Here's something that might be useful to single men: According to Suzanne Freeman, in her article ``End of Discussion: Why I'm leaving my book group'' for the Winter 2005 issue of The American Scholar ($6.95 / $9.00 Canada):

In many ways, it's difficult to avoid being a member of a book club these days, especially if you're female. Almost all of my women friends belong to one, and some to more than one. Nobody can say for sure just how many of these groups there are across the country, but the estimated number has quadrupled, from 250,000 ten years ago, to a million or more today. If, by some miracle, you have managed to miss this bandwagon, there are now all kinds of self-styled experts who are ready to help you hop aboard.

Okay, here's another one for the ladies: gyms. No, not those silly places that are mostly about jazzercise or spinning or yoga or Pilates or whatever is popular these days. I don't mean a place with a swimming pool, and you know I don't mean ExerciseUSA, which has different days for men and women. I mean weight rooms. Places with lots of black padding, free weights, and machinery that looks like it sprang from the frothy imagination of an elementary-mechanics textbook author. Oh yeah, maybe some aerobics machines to warm up. The clientele at the blue-collarish workout club I used to go to is great for the girl who likes a man in or out of uniform: lots of cops and national guard reservists. It averaged no less than 85% male any time of day. Of course, that was the problem for me. I mean--the time of day, of course! Now I'm a member of an Anytime Fitness club, with 24-hour card access. (Even there, police officers form a disproportionate fraction of the membership.)

ADVerb. <-- That's a capitalized period, see? I capitalize the parts of a term that appear in its abbreviation, usually. (I usually use boldface instead of capitalization with foreign terms. The notion behind this is that readers of this glossary have a good enough idea of how capitalization works in English that using capitalization to indicate abbreviation source letters causes no confusion. Boldface is used with foreign terms because capitalization conventions in other languages are different and unknown to many users of this resource. Overall, this is a stupid approach. I should never have started using extra capitalization to indicate the obvious, but after a few thousand entries it was a case of stare decisis. I envy all the web-based lexicographers who just use capital letters, but this resource is just a bit too discursive for the shouting approach. If I live long enough, there will probably be a fix of some sort, but there are other priorities right now. I should probably explain this situation in some sort of help file, but no one ever reads help files. I simply expect everyone to read through the glossary multiple times, so everything gradually becomes clear despite my inarticulateness. That's how science books work, by the way. Jack, the editor of his own scientific journal, was the first person to advise me to read backwards from the end when proof-reading my own article. That never really worked for me; maybe I should try doing it with a mirror, like Leonardo.

Francesca tells me that when she copy-edits a long work, she goes straight through from the beginning and then goes back and does the first 20% over again. She explains that it takes the first 20% or so to figure things out, so she has to go back and recheck that part. See also the discussion of mission creep under DGE.

Oh yeah:) That was just an aside. The real subject of this entry is adverbs. And adverbials. As is typical in linguistic typology, one word (adverb in this case) names both a syntactic role and the kind of single word that can serve that role. An adverbial is a phrase that plays the role of an adverb; it's short for adverbial phrase. Most adverbials are prepositional phrases.

In English, adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and larger syntactic units like sentences. The last are sometimes distinguished from the others, and may have different meanings. In most cases, it's not a big deal. Probably the one adverb (or is that two?) whose usage causes the greatest fury is hopefully.

The verb adverb hopefully indicates that the agent performing the action of the verb is hopeful (an adjective). ``He asked hopefully'' means that he asked with hope (probably of a satisfactory answer). Hope implies uncertainty and concern, so this adverb also implies trepidation. The sentence adverb hopefully indicates that the speaker or writer of the sentence is hopeful, rather than the subject of the sentence. ``Hopefully things will go well'' means that the speaker hopes that things will go well. This usage is widespread, and irritation at this usage is also quite widespread, but less so. One objection to the use of hopefully as a sentence adverb is that it's superfluous. It can usually be replaced with an expression like ``it is to be hoped that'' (which may seem overformal) or ``I hope that'' (which may seem overpersonal). Another objection is the ambiguity of expressions like ``Hopefully he told her.''

In Spanish, a large class of adverbs are constructed by applying the suffix -mente to an adjective. French uses -ment in a similar way, but -ment words in English are nouns (see next paragraph). French adverbs in -ment correspond to English adverbs in -ly (e.g.: cordialement, probablement). The preceding statements that contain the word French should be understood to represent my own ignorant guesses. (But sincere ignorant guesses! Or is that sincerely ignorant guesses?)

The -ment ending in English yields a noun from a verb stem. This also comes from French. It goes back to the Latin suffix -mentum, which when added to a verb stem yielded a noun. (Spanish constructs such nouns with -mento or -menta.)

AFAIK, Germanic languages all have cognates of -ly. Dutch and Afrikaans use -lijk and -lik. German has -lich, but the distinction between adverbs and adjectives has largely disappeared. That is, the uninflected form of an adjective is also an adverb, something like fast in English. (Please don't bring up adjectival predicates.) German does have a large class of adverbs (ending in -weise, cognate with English -wise) that do not function as adjectives. For some further discussion of that distinction, see the see through entry.

Asociación de Dirigentes de Venta. Argentine `Association of Sales Managers,' founded in 1942.

It's slightly cute that the acronym suggests something as relevant as advertise, but it doesn't do so in Spanish. Aviso is Spanish for `advertisement,' and advertir is `warn.' That's right, amigo, we're talkin' falso amigo. So it was no great loss to Acronymia when ADV became ADE in 1983.

A Ford synonym for electronic stability control. For other synonyms, see the ESC entry.

I suggest you always give patently stupid advice that no one in his right mind would or even could follow, and add that ``if you don't, you'll be sorry!'' or words to that effect. They won't, and then when things go wrong, you can say ``I told you so'' or words to that effect. Keep a safe distance.

Don't worry about things going right. They never do, and when they do, nobody will mention it. When they mention it, say ``just wait,'' ``we're not out of the woods yet,'' or words to that effect.

Freud theorized that depression is aggression turned inward (or so it is claimed). I theorize that advice is New Year's resolutions turned outward.

THANKS in ADV ANCE. The usage TIA is much preferred.

The corresponding phrase in Spanish is gracias de antemano (a more literal translation would be `thanks beforehand'). There's no special reason why you should know any of that.

It is more important to know that the head term is a rebus-like

           p l a y
          --------- ,
          word word
and hence repugnant to the discriminating reader. Therefore, its use should always be accompanied by advapologiesance.

The word advance seems to entice punsters. During the US Civil War, North Carolina's Zebulon Baird Vance was by far the most effective state governor in the Confederacy. Among the less significant things he did was to invest, on behalf of the state, in a blockade-runner that was named the Ad Vance. (You probably want to know how successful it was. It would be funnier if I simply observed the fact of your interest and left it at that, but I'm a bit compulsive, so I'll have to tell you. Fortunately, some of you don't care.) The Ad Vance was launched in July 1862. This is surprising, because Vance was first elected governor of North Carolina on August 6, 1862. Maybe I'll look into that some day. The Ad Vance made 20 successful voyages before being captured by the USS Santiago de Cuba in 1864.

The use of word infix in rebus-like representations of prepositional phrases in in was the theme of the February 3, 2000, NYT crossword puzzle, constructed by Thomas W. Schier. Here are the theme clues and answers (punctuation and capitalization follow constructor conventions):

"1960's sci-fi series"         SPLOSTACE
"Arrives ahead of schedule"    EGETSARLY
"Example"                      POCASEINT
"Start, as a chain of events"  MOTSETION
"Jack Benny's theme song"      BLOLOVEOM
"Write or call"                TOUCKEEPH

Aged/Disabled Waiver. A Medicaid program established in 1982 by Medicaid, which also in some places (e.g., chapter 500 of the Medicaid Regulations) expands ADW as ``Aged/Disabled Home and Community-Based Services Waiver.'' Bureaucrat humor. (The first expansion I gave is used in the text of chap. 300, though the running head uses the same expansion as ch. 500.)

``You will, I am sure agree with me that if page 534 finds us only in the second chapter, the length of the first one must have been really intolerable.'' This declaration occurs in chapter 1 of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Valley of Fear. Donald Knuth quotes it on page 463 of his The Art of Computing: I. Fundamental Algorithms. The quote occurs at the end of chapter 2 (``Information Structures''), which I suppose is Knuth's paratactic way of noting that it's possible for chapter 2 to be long and chapter 1 short.

Francis Bacon, ``I do not pronounce upon anything.'' This appears at V, 210 of his Collected Works. Nice of him to point that out. (You can imagine my shock when I first read that and mistook the comma for a period: V. 210.)

This State of Florida document expands ADW as ``Aged and Disabled Adult Waiver.'' That seems to imply that it doesn't cover disabled juveniles. I think that's wrong, but fortunately, I don't have to find out.

A figure of speech which indicates impossibility by comparison with an acknowledged impossibility. ``When pigs fly.''

I don't know if something like ``an ice cube's chance in hell'' or ``an ant's chance at an aardvark convention'' always qualifies. (Of course, the ninth circle of Dante's Inferno burns with cold.)

A figure of speech that's usually more poetical, but which has a similar-sounding name, is asyndeton. The latter word seems to me to be much more common, but googling seems to indicate that it's only somewhat more common.

Airport Development Zone.

Ateneo de Zamboanga University. A Jesuit school in Zamboanga Peninsula (an administrative region of the southern Philippines comprising three provinces previously known as Western Mindanao). It was founded as a parochial school in 1912, and the institution includes a grade school (on the same campus as the colleges of the university) and a high school on a separate campus.

Such an arrangement is not entirely unknown even in the US. I know a couple of elementary-school teachers who work on the campus of a university in southwestern Michigan. The terminological inconveniences are minor. (``I graduated from Ateneo de Zamboanga University High School.'')

A Japanese bean.

ADviSorY. Phonetic aviation acronym. And I thought Broken English was the international language of science.

Like an adze.

Accident & Emergency. An attributive noun that modifies nurse, nursing, medicine, department, etc. In England, ``A&E;'' or ``A&E Department'' is widely used for the emergency department of a hospital, equivalent to ED (or, metonymically, ER) in the US.

All aloooong, alooong, there were incidents and accidents. (And Betty when you call me you can call me ``Al.'')

Acoustic Emission.

Acrodermatitis Enteropathica. A hereditary disease of childhood. Symptoms include a severe rash, loss of immune function, and drastic behavioral changes. See E. J. Moynahan: ``Acrodermatitis enteropathica: a lethal inherited human zinc deficiency disorder,'' Lancet, vol. 2, pp. 399-400 (1974).

Apparently, the disease results from a genetic defect that prevents breakdown of tryptophan before the point where picolinate is produced. The picolinate shortage is apparently most noticeable in the reduced ability to extract zinc from food in the intestines. Other chelators, particularly hydroxyquinoline, are effective substitutes.

Acta Eruditorum. A journal about which all I know is that G.W. Leibniz published a number of papers in it. The first was ``Meditationes de Cognitione, Veritate et Ideis,'' published in 1684. This was his first paper in a scholarly journal, which is both less and more of a big deal than it sounds. It's not the case that Leibniz was an unknown testing the waters of scholarly fame, so in that way the paper was less of a big deal for him than it might seem at first blush. On the other hand, one reason that Leibniz was already well-known and greatly respected before he published any journal papers is that journals were a new phenomenon. A.E. was one of the four great general scholarly journals of its time, the last of the four to begin publication. More about that later, as I want to get the current tranche of entries out the door (I want to publish).

aetatis. Latin for `at [or of] the age of.'

Albert Einstein.

[Old bushy-hair himself]


Alfred Edward Housman (1859-1936). Poet (``A Shropshire Lad''), classicist and put-down virtuoso. Never got a Ph.D., which I suppose isn't all that odd. More at Housman, A.E. Interestingly, the classicist Alfred Edward Taylor (1869-1945) also published with ``A.E.'' instead of a name. Fascinating, huh?

Like another A.E. -- Einstein -- Housman initially worked in the patent office when he could not get an academic position. If you're still reading at this point in the entry, then you may be interested in visiting the A.A.M. entry.

If you're not still reading this entry, then it's too bad, because you might have liked to have learned more about Housman's grave.

Arts and Entertainment. That at least is what ``A&E'' originally stood for. Googling on "Arts and Entertainment" brings up a deluxe ``A&E - The Arts and Entertainment Network'' top hit with a search bar for <aetv.com>, but the gloss appears to be Google's. ``Arts and Entertainment'' does not appear on the home page (or in its meta tags). Searching on ``arts'' at <aetv.com> on July 1, 2009, doesn't appear to bring up a single instance of the original expansion. (There were 283 hits; I didn't check them all. Excuse me.) I think A&E is now, so far as A&E itself is concerned, a sealed acronym. They would apparently prefer that people forget the original expansion. I think this is going to work even less well than Kentucky Fried Chicken's rebranding as KFC.

Early in the Twenty-First Century (we're talkin' programming for the ages, right?) A&E realized that (1) old people die, and (2) dead people do not participate in Nielsen sweeps (unless Nielsen subcontracts to ACORN or the Islamic Republic). So they decided to stave off destiny by going for younger viewers. They did this by going the crime-drama equivalent of ``reality'' programming: they replaced mystery programs with true-crime shows. And they dumped the good movies too. See the PBS entry for related thoughts on age and TV-watching.

The A&E Television Network includes not only the A&E cable channel but also bio. (they haven't suppressed the word biography, yet) and at least three History cable channels.

Audio Editions. Books on cassette and CD.

Nom de plume of George William Russel (1867-1935), a friend of Yeats, and himself an editor and poet, author of The Candle of Vision. The same is a character in Joyce's Ulysses. The illustration above is of a different, non-Irish writer.

One. A term that finds its principal application in Scrabble®. It's accepted by the main tournament dictionaries: SOWPODS and TWL98. The OSPD4 says it's an adjective. This is quite accurate. It's modern Scottish, and the noun is ane. So there is no plural aes. I don't know how SOWPODS and TWL98 define it, but they don't accept aes either.

(Domain name code for) United Arab Emirates.

Here's the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The CIA Factbook has some basic information on the Emirates.

Oh, goodie: evidence that Outlook Express virus-propagation technology is also used in the emirates; I received good ol' W32/Sircam with an .ae-domain return address. Courtesy of Emirates Internet.

Application Entity.

(US) Armed Forces (in) Europe. ``Europe'' here is understood loosely, since it includes permanent installations (mostly in Europe) and contingent installations in the Middle East and Africa. Two-letter ``state'' code used by the MPSA and USPS. (For USPS purposes, US Armed Forces stationed out-of-country are served by ``domestic mail,'' and so require a ``state'' code.)

Mail bound for the AE region used to be (and I believe still is) routed through processing centers at New York City, and used to be nominally bound for New York. Using NY (for New York) instead of AE still works for mail, but will probably cause problems with credit-card verification, so go ahead and do it. See if I care. For more on MPSA/USPS military mail, see the MPO entry.

[column] AE has a lot of alternative expansions in Latin inscriptions too.

Alabama Education Association. Homepage reloads every second. Now children, what does that tell us? One of the state affiliates of the NEA.

American Electronics Association.

American Emu Association. ``Formed in 1989, AEA is a national, member driven, non-profit agricultural association dedicated to the emu industry. AEA promotes public awareness of emu products, fosters research and publishes a bi-monthly newsletter and several industry brochures.''

American Engineering Association. ``[A] national, non-profit professional association, dedicated to the enhancement of the engineering profession and US engineering capabilities.''

American Economic Association, founded 1885. A constituent society of the ACLS since 1919. ACLS has an overview, according to which, appropriately enough, payment of dues is the sole criterion for individual membership.

Arizona Education Association. One of the state affiliates of the NEA.

Atomic Energy Act. 1954 act of US congress that created the US AEC.

Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography. A journal. The cover is plain and matte, but it does feature the letters A, E, and B in a bouncy calligraphic style that makes them look like ``A & B.''

Catholic spirit that I am, I picked up a random issue (``New Series Volume 6 Numbers 3 & 4'' dated 1992, though copyrighted in 1994) and -- doing a bit of analytic bibliosomethingorother of my own -- looked at the table of contents. The authors of the first two items were Bernice W. Kliman and Robert F. Fleissner, respectively. What, you want to know the titles of their articles? Are you sure? Are you sure you don't want to just skip ahead to the next paragraph? The next entry altogether?

  1. Samuel Johnson, 1745 Annotator? Eighteenth-Century Editors, Anonymity, and The Shakespeare Wars.
  2. On Retaining M. Arden of Feversham: The Question of Titular Resonance.
Don't say I didn't warn you, even though I didn't really. Anyway, in an analytic sociobibliography comment that Abraham Lincoln once made, or that you can't definitively prove he didn't once make, ``For people who like that kind of book, that is the kind of book they will like.'' (I doubt he'd he have phrased it quite so inelegantly.)

Listed below those articles was a letter to the editor, and then a large number of items from men of the cloth. Errr, make that ``people of the cloth,'' and I don't mean seamsters and seamstresses. Starting with Rev. Carolyn D. Rude! I guess she's not Catholic. Twelve items in all, every one by a reverend. The question was not, where did they find all these holies? Rather, why didn't the laity contribute?

Well, I eventually figured it out, but I wanted to share my confusion first. The items were in a section titled ``Reviews.'' The articles at the top of the table of contents had titles followed by bylines (to stretch the sense of the term back to its original meaning) like ``By Bernice W. Kliman.'' The reviews list gave titles and no authors, followed by -- for example -- ``Rev. Iain Gordon Brown'' (of the National Library of Scotland, as the item reveals). This looked like a perfectly fine minister's name, and even a nice second career for a Scotsman and former prime minister, but the ``Rev.'' just meant ``reviewer'' or ``reviewed by.'' The explicit ``Rev.'' was there so the reader of the table of contents would not mistake the reviewer's name for the unlisted name of any author. To avoid confusion.

In the Reviews section there was also an article about (but evidently not a review of) reviews ``By'' an editor.

Acoustic Echo Canceler.

Architecture, Engineering and Construction. There's an AECNET sponsored by Environmental Dynamics Design, Inc.

(US) Atomic Energy Commission. Established by the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (a/k/a the McMahon Act). The legislation created the initial framework for private industrial involvement in the development of nuclear power generation; the AEC was charged with administering and regulating atomic power production.

In 1948, the AEC authorized the construction of several research and test facilities, including a high-flux materials-testing reactor (MTR), an experimental fast breeder reactor (EBR-I), and a prototype pressurized-water reactor for submarine propulsion (STR, for submarine thermal reactor, later called S1W).

Many years later, the AEC was split into the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA). The latter was absorbed into the Department of Energy (DoE) when that was created in 1977.

La Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional.

Atomic Energy of Canada, Limited. (EACL in French. What is it in Inuktitut?)

Association for Educational Communications and Technology. Within the NEA.

Academy for Eating Disorders. Why would anyone want to eat a disorder?

Academy for Educational Development.

Atomic-Emission Detector.

Automatic External Defibrillator. I hope that's CLEAR!

Arnold Engineering Development Center.

Asociación de Editores de Diarios Españoles. `Spanish Newspaper Publishers' Association.' Founded in 1978 to support press freedom (Generalisimo Francisco Franco died in 1975 and was still dead at that time). AEDE became a trade association in 2000. AEDE was in the news in 2014 when it successfully lobbied the Spanish parliament to require Google News to pay (unspecified, but nonrenounceable) royalties for the snippets of content accompanying links to news sources. The law is effective from January 2015. After Google announced that it would pull the plug on Google News Spain in December 2014, AEDE called for the government to stop Google from closing the offending site.

aedean, AEDEAN
Looks like an Irish Gaelic word, but it's actually an acronym for Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos. (Click here if that link doesn't work.) Aedean is a member of ESSE and also EAAS, but the emphasis is clearly with the former (i.e., on English philology).

Asociación Española de Estudios Irlandeses. I've read complaints by Irish people about the ignorance of South Americans (at least in Brazil and some Spanish-speaking countries). They will explain that they are irlandés (in Spanish; irlandês in Portuguese), and are often misheard as having said that they are holandés (or holandês). Sometimes repetition doesn't help. Evidently the Netherlands (population about 17 million; a Spanish possession during Spain's Golden Age and a commercial competitor of the Spanish and Portuguese empires afterwards) is better known than Ireland (population about 5 million).

Asociación Española para el Desarrollo de la Ingeniería Eléctrica. `Spanish Association for the Development of Electrical Engineering.'

Asociación Española de Estudios Canadienses. `Spanish Association for Canadian Studies.'

American Entrepreneurs for Economic Growth. A name that promises tendentiousness and special pleading, if anything ever did.

Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics.

Advertising Educational Foundation. Is that really the point?

Aerospace Education Foundation. A ``non-profit educational charity promoting aerospace excellence.''

American Enuresis Foundation.

American Expeditionary Force. Contingent of American troops, informally called doughboys, sent to fight on Allied side in WWI. On July 4, 1917, Charles M. Stanton gave a speech at the tomb of Lafayette in Paris. He said, ``Lafayette, we are here.'' So were the British, as the BEF, and the Canadians (CEF). Why, it was a regular Boy Scout International Jamboree, but with a lower survival rate. See the U-boat entry for something about how we all happened to get together there.

If you just linked here from the Þe entry, you're probably wondering why.

Armenian Educational Foundation. ``Since 1950, the Armenian Educational Foundation, Inc. (AEF) has been a cornerstone of the Armenian educational movement around the world. It has lent a helping hand to hundreds of students and to dozens of schools in numerous nations. Through its many years of giving, it has proven to be one of the most enduring and productive organizations in the Diaspora.''

Association of Engineering Geologists.

Advanced Electronic Guidance and Instrumentation System.

A.E. Housman, supra.

(Japan) Association for Electric Home Appliances.

Allergy & Environmental Health Association: Nova Scotia.

They have pages at geocities.com dedicated to spreading the word about great dangers of natural gas. Thank you very much, I needed an excuse to leave that party.

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. ``Founded in 1943 and located in Washington, D.C., [it] is one of America's largest and most respected `think tanks'.'' Atlanticist, free-market, neoconservative.

Architectural Engineering Institute.

Automatic Equipment Identification.

A cryptic initialism invented by Frederick III, ruler (duke, then archduke) of Austria (of the long Habsburg line) and Holy Roman Emperor from 1440 to 1493. It modestly encoded the immodest ambition of his dynasty. He had it engraved on public buildings and used the device with his signature. Subsequent Habsburg emperors continued the use. Fred was a bit of a mystic and obscurantist, and it's not certain what the expansion was supposed to be, or even if it was originally intended to have a single expansion, but all the common ones have a similar thrust:
  1. German: Alles Erdreich ist Österreich untertan.
    (`All earth is subject to Austria.')
  2. Latin: Austriae est imperare orbi universo.
    (`Austria is destined to rule the world.')
  3. Latin: Austria erit in orbe ultima.
    (`Austria will last forever.')
The translations are the typical ones into English. The two from Latin are a bit free. The one from German is fairly accurate; Erdreich has a sense of `soil,' but one somewhat etymological translation would be `earthly realm.' Three alternate expansions usually indicate severe backronymy.

Strictly speaking, the German version would give rise to the initialism A.E.I.Ö.U., but Ö is also written Oe.

Analytic Electron Microscop{e | y}. Catch-all term for any TEM-type microscope with any advanced feature, such as CBED, EELS or SAED. In other words, TEM that isn't merely CTEM.

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.


Ancient Etymology ONline.

American Electric Power Company.

AppleTalk Echo Protocol.

Arts Education Partnership. ``Partnership'' among over 100 US organizations seeking to promote arts education in schools.

Association of Emergency Physicians.

Association of European Psychiatrists.

Association for European Paediatric Cardiology. French: Association Européenne pour la Cardiologie Pédiatrique.

ASAS/ENSCE Process Cluster. (The acronyms stand for All [intelligence] Sources Analysis System and Enemy Situation Correlation Element.)

American Economic Review.

Annual Energy Review. Don't wait for the next one, look in MER!

American Educational Research Association. Holds its annual meeting in Spring.

AtmosphERe/Ocean Chemistry Experiment. Gosh, that seems A bIt Recherché.

aerial metal
Strong lightweight aluminum-lithium (Al-Li) alloy. Used for its low density: ~4 g/cc (~100 lbs per cu. ft.).

An obsolete word in the same lexical rubbish heap as aerostat (so I thought) and aerostation. Evident etymology: aero (combining form from the Greek meaning `air') + naut (from the Greek meaning `sailor,' derived in turn from the English nut, meaning `person who takes stupid risks').

A silicon-based solid that is very translucent, and has a dielectric constant that is on the order of a percent or more, but not a lot, above unity. Material useful for, indeed specifically invented for, Cherenkov-counters.

The most striking feature of aerosil is its density -- it's much lighter than pumice. If you want to know what it feels like to hold a block of aerosil in your hot little hand, just bake an ordinary-size potato for eight hours at 450 °F.

According to the encyclopedia and dictionary Pantologia (London, 1813), aeroscopy is ``[t]he observation of the air.''

Heck, no -- I ain't daydreaming! I'm engaging in aeroscopy!

Here's the complete aerostat entry from the Pantologia (London, 1813):
AEROSTAT, the air balloon, is a name given to a new constellation situated between the feet of Capricorn. This constellation was proposed by M. Lalande, in 1798, when he had an interview with M. Borda, Dr. Zach, and other German astronomers, at Gotha, whither he was sent to convert them to the French calendar and measures: he did not obtain the object of his mission.

At least not immediately. We also have entries for balloon payment, balloon smuggler, and SI, but read on.

I used to think this was a quaint old word. See JLENS.

Pantologia, an 1813 encyclopedia and dictionary, charmingly explains that aerostation
in its primary and proper sense, denotes the science of weights, suspended in the air [why doesn't MIT have a Department of Aerostation -- is it a social science?]; but in the modern application of the term, it signifies the art of navigating through the air, both in the principles and the practice of it. ...

The article on this important modern technology runs to unnumbered pages (little joke, actually almost eleven nonpaginated pages), covering the principles, the history, etc. As I write this in 2003, it seems appropriate to reproduce the review of the earliest history of flight R&D:

   History of Aerostation. Various schemes for rising in the air, and passing through it, have been devised and attempted, both by the ancients and moderns, and that upon different principles, and with various success. Of these, some attempts have been made upon mechanical principles, or by virtue of the powers of mechanism: and such are conceived to be the instances related of the flying pigeons made by Archytas, the flying eagle and fly by Regiomontanus, and various others. Again other projects have been formed for attaching wings to some parts of the body, which were to be moved either by the hands or feet, by the help of mechanical powers; so that striking the air with them, after the manner of the wings of a bird, the person might raise himself in the air, and transport himself through it, in imitation of that animal. The romances of almost every nation have recorded instances of persons being carried through the air, both by the agency of spirits and mechanical inventions; but till the time of the celebrated lord Bacon, no rational principle appears ever to have been thought of by which this might be accomplished. Friar Bacon indeed had written upon the subject; and many had supposed, that, by means of artificial wings, a man might fly as well as a bird: but these opinions were refuted by Borelli in his treatise De Motu Animalium, where, from comparison between the power of the muscles which move the wings of a bird, and those which move the arms of a man, he demonstrates that the latter are utterly insufficient to strike the air with such force as to raise him from the ground. In the year 1672, bishop Wilkins published his ``Discovery of the New World,'' in which he certainly seems to have conceived the idea of raising bodies into the atmosphere by filling them with rarefied air. This, however, he did not by any means pursue; but rested his hopes upon mechanical motions, to be accomplished by human strength, or by springs, &c. which have been proved incapable of answering any useful purpose. The jesuit Francis Lana, contemporary with bishop Wilkins, proposed to exhaust hollow balls of metal of their air, and by that means occasion them to ascend. But though the theory was unexceptionable, the means were certainly insufficient for the end: for a vessel of copper, made sufficiently thin to float in the atmosphere, would be utterly unable to resist the external pressure, which being demonstrated, no attempt was made upon that principle. ...

For an example of the use of this term in a modern language, see a CIA entry. Dang! Here's a site in English that uses the word (aerostation.org). Next thing you know, cavers will start calling themselves spelunkers.

Association of Educators in Radiological Sciences, Inc.

Abrasive Engineering Society. Hey you! Yeah you. You call yourself an engineer? Hah! You're not fit to design my shoelaces. You think stress analysis is done by psychiatrists. You're a disgrace to your degree. I'd tell you to go jump in the lake, but you probably couldn't design yourself out of the house and down to the bridge all alone.

Acrylonitrile Ethylene propylene Styrene [rubber]. A quaterpolymer plastic.

Adlai E. Stevenson. AES III was the Democratic Party candidate for the US presidency in 1952 and 1956, losing both times to Republican candidate DDE. The ``Stevenson shoe'' (shoe with a hole worn into the sole) got its name from his footgear.

American Endodontic Society.

Application Environment { Standard | Service }.

Atmospheric Environment Service (of Canada).

Atomic Emission Spectroscopy. Equivalently, Optical same.

Here's some instructional material from Virginia Tech (VT).

Audio Engineering Society. The 2001 AES Convention was in September.

Auger Emission Spectroscopy. Electron emission by atoms near the surface. AES is energy analysis of these electrons to determine the chemical composition. The position-resolved version is called Scanning Auger Microscopy (SAM).

Vide Auger process.

Here's some instructional material from Virginia Tech (VT). Here's some from Charles Evans & Associates.

Augmented Export Schema. Look here for explanation.

Automated Export (reporting) System. Used by the US Customs Service and by the Foreign Trade Division (FTD) of the US Census Bureau. A voluntary program. Described in AESTIR documentation.

Automotive Electronics Services. A retailer of electronic diagnostic equipment and services for automobile service technicians and also for back-yard goof-offs.

Association of Earth Science Editors.

Audio Engineering Society (AES) / European Broadcast Union (EBU).

American Electroplaters and Surface Finishers Society, Inc.

Asociación Española de Lingüística Aplicada. `Spanish Association for Applied Linguistics.' Affiliated with AILA.

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society.

Australian Eastern Standard Time. Ten hours ahead of UTC.

Aestimatio: Critical Reviews in the History of Science. ``Aestimatio provides critical, timely assessments of books published in the history of what was called science from antiquity up to the early modern period in cultures ranging from Spain to India, and from Africa to northern Europe. The aim is to allow reviewers the opportunity to engage critically both the results of research in the history of science and how these results are obtained.''

In Roman Law, aestimatio (or litis aestimatio) was an assessment of damages. Yeah, yeah, it had other meanings.

Automated Export System (AES) Trade Interface Requirements. Part of the technical documentation maintained by the US Customs Service.


Latin aetas, `age.' Often encountered in the titles of death notices, as in "Mary Corinne Rosebrook (aet. CVII)." The use of Latin confers a solemnity that delicately indicates age at the time of decease. (Yes, Corinne Rosebrook was 107; she died on January 11, 2001. She was an undergraduate at Ohio Wesleyan (OWU) when the Titanic went down.)

The word aetas arose by contraction from a form of the word aevum, `eternity.' A cognate word, aeternitas, was used to mean the same thing, aevum was more often used in the transformed sense of `age,' giving us medieval (middle age), primeval (first age) and coeval. The naturalness of the semantic shift is perhaps clearer in aevum's Greek cognate aiôn, our eon.

AET, aet
After Extra Time. AET, often in parenthesis and sometimes in lower case, is used to indicate final scores reached during ``extra time'' in ``football'' (soccer), the same way OT is used with final scores in basketball and football. (I don't know if announcers in any soccer-playing countries use an expression like ``in ee tee'' like the corresponding expression with OT.)

Anishinabek Employment and Training Services. The Anishinabek are, I think, an Ojibway First Nation in western Ontario.

Association for the Education of Teachers in Science. ``The mission of AETS is to promote leadership in, and support for those involved in, the professional development of teachers of science. AETS serves educators involved in the professional development of teachers of science, including science teacher educators, staff developers, college-level science instructors, education policy makers, instructional material developers, science supervisors/specialists/coordinators, lead/mentor teachers, and all others interested in promoting the development of teachers of science.''

Alberta Energy and Utilities Board.

Airborne Early Warning. (NATO acronym.)

Abercrombie and Fitch. An amazingly successful brand of undistinguished casual wear for the young and the young-at-brain. But fashion is fickle.

Afghanistan flag

(Domain name code for) Afghanistan. The US government's Country Studies website has a page of links (``Afghanistan Country Studies'') amounting to the online version of its Afghanistan book.

Scarecrow Press, Inc., of Lanham, Md. and London, publishes a number of historical dictionaries, mostly one per (relatively noticeable) nation, including The Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan (2/e, 1997) by Ludwig W. Adamec, which runs xiii+500 pp. In 1996, Scarecrow inaugurated a new series of Historical Dictionaries of War, Revolution, and Civil Unrest. First in the series was Afghanistan. The (series) Editor's Preface begins ``[i]t is indeed appropriate.'' The Dictionary of Afghan Wars, Revolutions, and Insurgencies, also by Ludwig W. Adamec runs xvii+365 pp.

Arnold J. Toynbee spent a third of the year 1960 between Oxus and Jumna. The last four words are the title of a book he wrote about the trip, subtitled ``A journey in India Pakistan and Afghanistan.'' (Punctuation sic, and in a way most appropriate.) (Oxus is the ancient name of one of the longest rivers in Central Asia, from Oxos in Greek. The name was used throughout Europe for a couple of thousand years or so, but recently it has become common to refer to it by a local name -- Amu Darya or Amudarya. The river forms much of the northern border of Afghanistan. The Jumna lies south and east of the Indus.)

Arnold Toynbee was a widely (I didn't say universally) respected historian, so this book was something of a teaching opportunity. In ch. 1, ``The Old World's Eastern Roundabout,'' he divides the world up into culs-de-sac and roundabouts. ``In the fifteenth century the Portuguese invented a new kind of sailing ship that could keep the sea continuously for months on end.'' This, he says, temporarily turned Europe from a cul-de-sac into the world's central roundabout and ``temporarily put both Afghanistan and Syria [the previously dominant roundabouts, in his telling] out of business.'' Toynbee judged that more recent inventions -- ``mechanized rail and road vehicles, followed up by aircraft... have been deposing Western Europe from her temporary ascendancy in the World and have been reinstating Syria and Afghanistan.'' (``Syria'' here means greater Syria, including Lebanon.)

He noticed somewhat mildly that ``disputes over political frontiers'' were holding back this progress, yet ``[a]ll the same, Beirut is already one of the World's most important international airports, and Qandahar is making a bid to become another of them.'' Toynbee described various infrastructure projects (roads, railroads, river ports, mountain tunnels) that the Russians and Americans were building in Afghanistan.

On p. 4: ``These new roads promise to reinstate Afghanistan in her traditional position in the World. They are her economic bonus from the present political competition between the Soviet Union and the United States. The bonus is valuable, but the accompanying risk is high. Roundabouts are strategic as well as economic assets, and strategic assets are tempting political prizes.''

Around page 103, he is again describing various projects that the Soviet Union had undertaken, some already completed, to improve the movement of freight into and out of Afghanistan. If successful, these would have the effect of reorienting Afghanistan's traffic to the Oxus.

    This will not be the first time that the navigation of the Oxus has been one of the determining factors in world history. In the second century B.C. the Water Sakas--Iranian forerunners of the Cossacks--applied the boatmanship which they had learnt on the Oxus to the navigation of the Helmand and the Indus. Like the Cossacks in a later age, the Sakas made their conquests by boat as well as on horseback. The present-day Russian navigators of the Oxus are most unlikely to try to use their command of the river, Cossack-fashion, for making conquests of the old-fashioned military kind.

Strictly speaking, perhaps this was technically correct, but he continues...

They will try, not to dominate Afghanistan by force of arms, but to attract her as a sun-flower is attracted by the Sun. Evidently the Russians have every right to do this if they can. And, of course, Pakistan and the Western World have an equal right to compete with the Soviet Union for Afghanistan's custom by making the Karachi trade-route more attractive for the Afghans than it is at present. If one chooses, one may call this economic competition `the Cold War'. But giving it a bad name will not make it a bad thing.

I don't entirely condemn Toynbee for failing to see a couple of decades into the future. No one can do so reliably, though some possibilities can be reliably discarded from consideration. But it is not just ``with the benefit of hindsight'' that we see Toynbee as misguided; a limited historical horizon helps us miss what he could see. In May 2010, Foreign Policy magazine published a bittersweet recollection by Mohammad Qayoumi, a photo essay online here.

Given the images people see on TV and the headlines written about Afghanistan over the past three decades of war, many conclude the country never made it out of the Middle Ages. ... But that is not the Afghanistan I remember. I grew up in Kabul in the 1950s and '60s. When I was in middle school, I remember that on one visit to a city market, I bought a photobook about the country published by Afghanistan's planning ministry. Most of the images dated from the 1950s. I had largely forgotten about that book until recently; I left Afghanistan in 1968... Through a colleague, I received a copy of the book and recognized it as a time capsule of the Afghanistan I had once known -- perhaps a little airbrushed by government officials, but a far more realistic picture of my homeland than one often sees today.

A half-century ago, Afghan women pursued careers in medicine; men and women mingled casually at movie theaters and university campuses in Kabul; factories in the suburbs churned out textiles and other goods. There was a tradition of law and order, and a government capable of undertaking large national infrastructure projects, like building hydropower stations and roads, albeit with outside help. Ordinary people had a sense of hope, a belief that education could open opportunities for all, a conviction that a bright future lay ahead. All that has been destroyed by three decades of war, but it was real.

Back to Toynbee's book. The then-septuagenarian covered a lot of ground, and modernizing cities were a small part of it. The following concerns a Pakhtun tribal area in Pakistan, but Toynbee's observations there are relevant to Afghanistan. The famous Khyber Pass straddles the Afghan-Pakistan border. Its summit is at Landi Kotal, about 3 miles inside Pakistan. The nearest large city is Peshawar, the provincial capital, roughly 30 miles from Landi Kotal.

P. 17: ``...we happened to approach the Landi Kotal railway station at the moment when the weekly train was disgorging a horde of passengers. As they streamed westward, I thought they must be on pilgrimage, but their business was mundane. They were bound for Landi Kotal market-place, where Russian teapots, German wireless-sets, and Indian gauzes can be bought at prices which make the rail or bus fare from Peshawar worth paying. The Pakistan Government loses some customs revenue, but it turns a blind eye, and this is surely politic. The highland tribesmen cannot live off the crops from their pitiful little stony fields--at least, not unless they plant the fields illicitly with the opium poppy. Forbid poppy-cultivation, forbid the contraband trade, and you will drive a starving people into falling back on their traditional way of earning a living. And the old rhythm of raids alternating with punitive expeditions is not one that either party wishes to revive.'' (Personally, I imagine that duties went uncollected more as a result of corruption than of the central government's enlightened neglect.)

Air Force. Productive acronym suffix, as in RAF of Great Britain and USAF.

Air Frame.

Air-Fuel, Air-to-Fuel. In fact, the collocations ``Air Fuel'' and ``Air-to-Fuel'' occur most frequently in the phrases for the ratio, so AF is often a synonym for AF ratio. Tastes, or degrees of punctiliousness, vary. I'm about to bore you terribly, so before I drive you away I should say: cf. AV.

In all cases I have seen, the ratio is a mass ratio. In fact, there's even something called the ``volumetric efficiency'' for internal combustion engines, which also tends to be thought of as a mass ratio. Aeronautical engineers sometimes define the AF ratio as a mass ratio, but other mechanical engineers, particularly those who deal with land vehicles, describe it as a ``weight ratio.'' That's quite accurate enough, and it has the benefit of a dedicated adjective (see AFR), though weight as such is usually a little beside the point.

I suppose it's a niggling point, but it's irritating to a physicist. The mass is a measure of the amount of a substance, while the weight is a measure of the gravitational force it exerts. The mass-to-measured-weight conversion factor (the acceleration of gravity g) depends on altitude and deviations from a spherically symmetric earth, and has Coriolis and centrifugal force components. (Weight also depends on velocity and the space-time curvature tensor, if you want to get relativistic). These corrections are tiny at the level of precision relevant to combustion engines, and since the fuel and air are in the same place, most of the variation of g cancels, and weight ratios and mass ratios are equivalent. So it's ``academic,'' but when it costs nothing to state precisely rather than imply what one means, in technical usage one should be pedantic, errr, precise.

As long as we're being inappropriately precise, it's equally inappropriate to mention that mass is probably not the ideal measure of quantity, since the fuel and air often enter the combustion chamber at different temperatures. Raising the temperature increases the energy and thus the mass (E = mc2, remember?). Distinguishing mass and weight doesn't help here: the thermal-energy mass and the matter mass obey the same equivalence principle, and contribute in the same proportion to weight. (The necessary correction is on the order of a part in 1020.) The chemists are wise to use moles.

Anglo-French. In politics, history, and just about anything other than linguistics, this term characterizes whatever is jointly English (or British, or UK) and French. In linguistics it is essentially the version of Old French spoken in Norman England. The Norman conquest of Great Britain had enormous direct effects on the Germanic languages spoken there, of course, particularly the infusion of French and more Latinate vocabulary and inflections. In addition, there were indirect effects from the demotion of English to a peasant language, when the nobility and royal court spoke and made law in French. The Battle of Hastings took place in 1066, a date that was once universally recognizable to English-speakers. Language changes usually take time and cannot be so sharply dated, but for practical purposes the periodization of English takes Old English to 1100, and Middle English from there.

Armed Forces.

The story goes that Victor Mature and Jim Backus were at work in the Paramount Studio one day when Mature had to run an errand. Backus went along, and as they were in a hurry they skipped lunch and substituted a quick drink (not a hardship). Also to save time, they didn't bother changing out of their costumes for the sword-and-sandals flick they were working on. So they walked into an Encino bar as Roman warriors, in tufted helmets, shiny breastplates, and knee-length skirts, and ordered two highballs. The bartender didn't move, just stared. After a long pause, Mature demanded ``What's the matter with you? Don't you serve members of the Armed Forces?''

In fact, Victor Mature (1915-99) was a petty officer in the Coast Guard during WWII, serving on the Admiral Mayo, a troop transport.

I first read this story in Buskin' with H. Allen Smith, which isn't necessarily accurate. One of my first thoughts was ``Jim Backus -- the voice of Mr. Magoo? Thurston Howell the third on Gilligan's Island? You've gotta be kidding! He could be maybe a centurion. Centurions can be soft and slow.'' Sure enough, it seems the only ancient Roman he ever played in the movies was a centurion in Androcles and the Lion (1952). Victor Mature had a starring role in that, as a captain.

Androcles, played by Alan Young, only got third billing. Look, everyone knows this old story, so you have to add stuff -- flesh it out, so to speak. First billing went to luscious Jean Simmons, in the role of Lavinia. Oh! This was an adaptation of GBS's play ``Androcles and the Lion.'' A comedy. Harpo Marx was originally supposed to play Androcles, but he was eventually replaced by Young. The only other film role Harpo ever played after this was Sir Isaac Newton in The Story of Mankind (1957). Groucho and Chico were in it too, but it wasn't a comedy. It was a drama with a sci-fi frame narrative! Apparently one of the great all-time star-studded clunkers. Now where were we? Alan Young, the Androcles part? Alan Young later went on to direct the TV comedy Mr. Ed (1961-66). He also starred (co-starred?) as Mr. Ed's owner Wilbur Post.

As you may have guessed, there's an animal in ``Androcles and the Lion'' too. In the movie production the guy in the lion suit was Woody Strode, who sounds like someone I should mention in the nomen est omen entry. I don't know about you, but when I think of guys in lion suits I think of Bert Lahr, the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz (1939). The Wicked Witch of the West in that movie was played by Margaret Hamilton, who before she went into film acting was a kindergarten teacher. In that role she threw out rambunctious little William Windom, age five, who later went on to a successful acting career of his own. That seems kind of harsh. I didn't know you could get thrown out of kindergarten, my little pretty one. Another of Margaret Hamilton's students was Jim Backus. Ah, good, we're coming back around again.

Jim Backus (1913-1989) and Victor Mature (1915-1999) both attended Kentucky Military Academy, and Backus's first movie role was in Easy Living (1949), which starred Mature. The two were good friends who shared a love of golf and evidently didn't take themselves too seriously. Victor Mature was a major star from the end of WWII to the end of the 1950's, when he let Charlton Heston have the Biblical Hero franchise and focused on golf instead. Mature didn't get much respect from critics. (I'm not saying he deserved more respect, mind you -- this wasn't exactly high art.) According to a widely repeated story, when he applied to join an exclusive Los Angeles Country Club at the height of his career, he was turned down and told that actors were not accepted as members. His famous retort was: ``I'm not an actor -- and I've got 67 films to prove it!'' (The number varies in different tellings.) So it seems he had a sense of humor too. This Encino-bar story looks plausible.

We're not likely to have a Victor Mature entry, so this is probably the place to mention that his dad's name was Marcello Gelindo Maturi. (You were probably wondering about the origin of the name.)

Back in the early 1980's, there was a problem in Germany of restaurants refusing to serve Americans. Someone I knew actually experienced this first-hand. I mention it in this entry because it seemed to be a policy directed against American servicemen in Germany. The US and German governments at the time cooperated in ending the practice. My Uncle Fritz, who'd been a lawyer in Germany before becoming a lawyer in the US, pointed out to me that the restaurants didn't have the legal right to select customers. I guess it's one of those quirks of Roman code, where (roughly) things not expressly allowed are forbidden, rather than vice versa.

Arthritis Foundation.

Atrial Fibrillation. Former President Bush says he's got it. Atrial fibrillation isn't as bad as ventricular fibrillation (VF, q.v.), because the atria are basically just holding tanks for the ventricles, which do the heart's heavy lifting (pumping blood into the arteries).

Well, whatever it is, at least it's more decorous than the overly publicized medical disorder of the subsequent defeated Republican presidential candidate. (That was ED, in case you forgot. If you're going to make up a euphemistic acronym, make it up for something that needs it. Then again, there's the example of B.O.)

Audio-Forum. ``[O]ne of the largest publishers and distributors of self-instructional, personal development, and educational audiovisual materials in the United States.'' Yet I don't even know they exist! ``We've been in business since 1972, providing quality programs to both individual consumers and educational institutions throughout the United States and the world.''

Audio Frequency. Nominally from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The young and those who have lived all their lives in a pre-modern society can sometimes hear to the upper end of that range. ``Sounds'' at the lower end of the range are not very audible, but they may be perceived (a) as felt vibration and (b) through their higher harmonics (in effect: through the deviations from purely sinusoidal form of the vibrations).

Axle to Frame. Truck dimension: precisely, the horizontal distance from the center of the rear axle or axles to the end of the frame.

For more, see Chassis Dimensions in the NTEA's glossary of Truck Equipment Terms.

Adoptive Families of America.

Air Force Acadaemy. See USAFA.

Air Force Association. ``The Air Force Association is a grass-roots, non-profit aerospace organization whose objective is to promote greater understanding of aerospace and national defense issues.''

American Forensics Association . See our other debating entries.

American Forestry Association.

Asociación Física Argentina.

Association of Flight Attendants.

The American Foundation of Audiology.

As Far As He { Knows | Knew }. On the pattern of AFAIK.

AFAIK, afaik
As Far As I Know.

Much less common approximate synonyms: TTBOMKAB, TTBOMKAU.
With similar meanings: TTBOMM, AIUI.
Expressing a greater certainty (with subjectivity not explicit): AAMOF.

What is this, a thesaurus?

I suppose that, on the pattern of AFAHK, AFAIK ought to mean As Far As It { Knows | Knew }.

As Far As I Recall. Modeled on AFAIK so the acronym will be recognized (in speech people tend to use ``can recall'').

<Alt.Fan.Authors.Stephen-King>. I don't have to tell you that newsgroups are normally written all lower-case, do I?

As Far As She { Knows | Knew }. On the pattern of AFAIK.

Air Force Base. Some national (US) research laboratories are sited within USAF bases. One of those, not surprisingly, is AFRL; it's located at Wright-Patterson AFB. Sandia Labs was founded in New Mexico as part of the Manhattan Engineering District, but is now operated by Lockheed Martin for the is operated by the Department of Energy; it's located within Kirtland AFB.

Oh, I suppose air force bases may have some other purposes besides hosting basic-science research laboratories. I'll have to look into that.

American Foundation for the Blind.

American Family Business Institute.

Association Francophone Belge de l'Ostéogenèse Imparfaite.

Alkaline Fuel Cell. Fuel cell using aqueous potassium hydroxide as the electrolyte.

AFC's have been used in NASA manned missions since around 1965, supplying electrical power for Gemini, Apollo, and space-shuttle astronauts. They react oxygen and hydrogen, and the oxygen tanks double as sources of oxygen for breathable air. (Before the Apollo 1 test disaster, the plan had been to use a pure oxygen atmosphere. After, this was changed to a 60-40 oxygen-nitrogen mix at 5 psi.) Because the fuel cells are not efficient, they generate waste heat; this has been used for heating the inhabited portions of the spacecraft.

The material byproduct of combustion, of course, is water, and on manned missions the fuel-cell exhaust is the principal source of water for drinking, rehydrating food, and operating the toilet. When the water is released into the vacuum of space, its expansion cools it. This effect has been harnessed to cool spacecraft electronics.

[Football icon]

American Football Conference. One of two subdivisions of the NFL.

As Tennyson wrote --

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward.

Asociación de Fútbol de Cuba. One of forty national organizations in CONCACAF.

Association Française pour la Contraception. Cf. Condom.

Automatic Frequency Control. Periodic sampling of FM signal to keep receiver detecting in the center of the transmission band. Also called Automatic Fine Tuning (AFT). Note that audio signal of TV is FM-encoded in most (all?) major protocols.

Air Force Communications Agency.

[Football icon]

American Football Coaches Association.

Air Force Computer Acquisition Center.

Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

Allied (NATO) Forces CENTral Europe.

American Federation for Clinical Research. Now the AFMR.

Association Française des Diabétiques.

Atomic Flux Divergence. By the continuity equation, a negative flux divergence causes local accumulation, and a positive value of the flux divergence causes local decrease in particle count or density.

Electromigration causes atomic flux in solids, with local accumulation causing ``hillock'' growth since the solid density does not increase. (If a cap or cladding layer is used to prevent hillock formation, mechanical stress counteracts the electric field gradient to cancel the AFD, with a slight increase in density (solids are not very compressible.) A positive AFD from electromigration causes voiding, and this is an important failure mechanism in microelectronic devices.

Electric field in a metal is divergenceless (div E = 0), and the atomic flux, viz. atomic current density, is proportional to the electric field. Therefore, in a homogeneous material, electromigration does not lead to flux divergence. However, any inhomogeneity in material composition or temperature affects the proportionality constant relating atomic flux and electric field. Thus, wherever material or temperature varies along the electric field direction, voids or hillocks may form.

One of the most common misunderstandings about electromigration concerns the kind of atomic flux that can give rise to hillock or void growth, and it has to do with the word divergence. I've been kind of out of that field for years, and it's not a great draw for research funding, but there are fundamental things about electromigration that bug me, so I'll probably write more about this someday.

Aid to Families with Dependent Children. The main federal program, jointly administered with and partly funded by the states, constituted (with food stamps, Medicaid, home relief, and some others) what was popularly thought of as ``welfare.'' In 1996 AFDC was replaced by block grants under the PRA. As of 2005, the program was called ``Temporary Assistance for Needy Families'' (TANF).

AFDC Child Care. A program providing child care to AFDC families with the head-of-household in a state-approved education or training program or working. If the work starts to come into enough money to end AFDC eligibility, there's some get-you-on-your-way help in the form of TCC, q.v..

Americans For the Environment. Americans who have volunteered to be mulched. But not yet. First, like nihilists, they must proselytize. And besides, in war it is not as good to die for one's side as it is to induce or cause some other guys to die for their side.

Pretty soon, there'll be a line you can sign on your driver's license, agreeing that whatever is left after your transplantable organs are harvested can be mulched, so long as this is done in a manner that respects the dignity of the body parts that haven't somehow become detached yet.

I guess you can tell I haven't done the reading on this one, huh? My cat was sick, my grandmother died! No, the other grandmother. Yes I have three grandmothers... um, it's a bit complicated. Yes, all passed away now. I don't know why they always die when I have tests -- come onnn, gimme partial credit at least!

It's a tropical rain forest out there!


Association Française d'Études Américaines. (`French Association for American Studies,' also abbreviated FAAS.) A constituent association of the EAAS. AFEA publishes RFEA.

AFrican Ecclesial Review. A publication of the AMECEA Pastoral Institute (Gaba). ``AFER is not the official voice of AMECEA (Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa), except when this is clearly stated.''

AIDS isn't quite the massive problem in eastern Africa that it is further south. It's a great relief to be able to pick up an issue and not be faced with that horror all the time. For example, the December 2003 issue of AFER was dedicated to the ``War of Terror in Northern Uganda.'' More at LRA.

Association Française d'Épargne et de Retraite. `French Association for Savings and Retirement.'

Latin affinis, `having affinity to.' Used in taxonomy. Taxonomy is the acrimonious branch of biology.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry - Australia. The former Department of Primary Industries and Energy (PIE).

AFFirmeD. The higher court upholds a lower court's decision. Such an upbeat term in such a contentious field.

Affirmed was also the name of a great racehorse.

American Frozen Food Institute. For an opposing opinion, visit the Canned Vegetable Council. (``The Canned Vegetable Council was founded over twenty years ago to provide factual information about vegetables in cans.'' Surprise conclusion: canned veggies taste good and are good for you.)

What do I look like, I potted plant?

``Affirmative, Captain.''
Of course, you illogical waste of protoplasm! Oh, man, talk about human anti-Vulcanism. I've heard them talk -- ``half-breed,'' they call me. They think just because I maintain the dignity of my noble composure, that I have no feelings. I know Kirk photon-torpedoes all my promotion requests because this ship would fall apart without me. I'll one-big-happy-crew him when I finally get my own command. The man couldn't be more full of it if they beamed the head contents into his cabin. And he probably couldn't tell that stuff from mess rations anyway. I sure can't. Oh ... for the brassberryant fire-tarts of home!

``Hmmm, fascinating sir.'' The words of that old plastic face ring so true -- Both sides was against me since the day I was born.

Affordable Luxury
  1. cheap knock-off
  2. tagline in Daewoo advertising campaign

American Federation of Government Employees.

American Friends of The Hebrew University.

``America's Funniest Home Videos.'' A television program showcasing spontaneous and candid moments carefully staged by amateurs, and videos of children and cute pets doing the darndest things already, dammit! Now the official abbreviation is AFV.

Air Force Instruction. I.e., a rule. Cf. command.

American Film Institute.

Authority and Format Identifier.

(US) Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

This reminds me of the famous fight between Sugar Ray Robinson and Jimmy Doyle, in June 1947. Specifically, of something Robinson said after the fight. (I'm not sure of the exact words, and all I have to go on right now are a dozen different versions in recent newspaper stories. I'll try to run this down later.)

It was Robinson's first defense of his welterweight title. Doyle had suffered a severe concussion in a match with Artie Levine 15 months earlier, and the night before his match with Doyle, Robinson dreamt that he killed Doyle with a single left hook in the eighth round. The next morning, Robinson tried to back out or postpone the match, and only agreed to go ahead after the promoters brought in the priest from Doyle's parish, who somehow reassured him.

Robinson's left hook knocked Doyle out in the eighth round, though he was ``saved by the bell,'' which rang at the count of nine. Doyle didn't answer the bell for the next round. In fact, he was carried from his corner on a stretcher, and he died the next day. Testifying at the inquest, Robinson was asked ``... you must have known Mr. Doyle was in trouble -- why did you go on hitting him?'' Robinson replied: ``Mister, it's my business to put people in trouble.''

``Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) is a tri-service agency of the Department of Defense with a threefold mission of consultation, education and research.'' Whoa! Three services and three missions!

American Federation of Information Processing Societies.

Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate. ``AFIRE members have a common interest in preserving and promoting cross-border investment in real estate. Founded in 1988 AFIRE currently has more than 180 members representing 21 countries.''

The AFIRE website has a graphic labeled ``Foreign Data: 2008 AFIRE Annual Survey (that was apparently done in some kind of collaboration with the Wisconsin School of Business and the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate) that shows three years' results of some polling on the country ``providing the most stable and secure real estate investments.'' The US received by far the highest percentage of members' votes: 64% in 2006 falling to 53% in 2008 (eyeballing from the graph). Germany and Switzerland rose to about 11% for 2008. I'm not sure how meaningful this is, except to me (not very much at all). I only give the information to help you sort out what they mean by ``foreign investors.'' It helps to recognize (from a use of ``cross-border'' that apparently includes ``overseas'') that AFIRE is guilty of more than one linguistic infelicity.

I imagine that this association of investors in foreign real estate decided that ``AFIRE'' just sounded hotter than ``AIFRE'' (in English, anyway). Did it really not occur to them that it is not a positive thing to associate real estate with fire?

It's an interesting thought, though, that investors rather than real estate should be regarded as foreign. After all, the real estate usually stays put, and it's domestic where it is. (Yeah, I've visited Lake Havasu City's London Bridge.)

American Forces Information Service.

(US) Air Force Institute of Technology. Campus at WPAFB.

Atheists For Jesus. ``A Site designed to provide a method of communication between religious and non-religious people who believe in the message of love and kindness put forth by Jesus.''

What good is love if you're not saved, eh? Makes being a non-atheistic Christian seem kind of selfish.

April Fool's Joke. The entity described in the preceding entry was not one, AFAIK.

Administradoras de Fondos de Jubilaciones y Pensiones. Spanish, `administrators of pension and retirement funds.' An official Argentine-government designation for the commercial associations that administer retirement and pension funds under the terms of the S.I.J.P. Notice that the feminine plural administradoras is used. Normally in Spanish, mixed-gender plurals ``resolve'' (that's the standard linguistic term) toward the male plural (administradores, in this instance), but here the individual administrators are all S.A.'s (anonymous societies) and grammatically female.

The government entity that monitors AFJP's is the SAFJP.

Away From Keyboard. Cf. BAK, PEBCAK, PIFOK.

Archiv für Kulturgeschichte. A German journal that might have been named `Archives of Cultural History' in English. See if Stuart Jenks's page of Tables of Contents of Historical Journals and Monographic Series in German has a link for this yet (deutsche Seite: Zeitschriftenfreihandmagazin Inhaltsverzeichnisse geschichtswissenschaftlicher Zeitschriften in deutscher Sprache).

American Federation of Labor. A federation that was created in 1886 by national craft unions out of the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada.

In 1935, the CIO was formed behind the leadership of UMW head John L. Lewis, who stormed out of the AFL. The AFL and CIO were merged as the AFL-CIO in December 1955.

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American Football League. Short-lived competitor to the NFL, absorbed into NFL as the American Football Conference (AFC), which included a few teams transferred from the originally larger NFL.

Arabic as a Foreign Language.

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Arena Football League. A professional indoor league of American football, complete with its own minor league, AF2.

Founded in 1987, its attendance reached an average of over 12,400 in 2005. It has had an NBC broadcast contract since 2003, when it moved the beginning of the season from May to February and switched to playing on Sundays.

Apologies For Lack of Audi Content. An alternative to OT preferred (by some) in electronic discussion forums for Audi automobiles.

The abbreviation is also used by a protesting duck in some television commercials that are, of course, not about Audi.

American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations. See AFL.

Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism.

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Arena Football League Writers Association.

Adobe Font Metrics, Adobe Font Manager.

Air Force Manual.

American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. A member union of the AFL-CIO and the CLC-CTC. Established in 1896, representing musicians of all genres. For $20+, they offer something that could be really useful: a video on how to get paying gigs.


Association Française contre les Myopathies.

Atomic Force Microscop{e|y}. (AKA SFM.) One mode of operation of essentially the same apparatus as an STM. In AFM mode, a sharp probe tip is scanned across a surface, with three piezoelectric ceramics being used to control position in three dimensions. The two lateral (in-plane) positions are raster scanned, the vertical dimension is controlled by a feedback circuit that maintains constant force. The image produced is a topograph showing surface height as a function of position in the plane. AFM is the imaging mode of choice for an insulating surface, since in that case tunneling currents are small. However, since the force depends on the material below the tip, the height of the tip does not exactly track the surface of an inhomogeneous material.

The University of Michigan Electron Microbeam Analysis Laboratory has put a description of their AFM online.

Cf. other types of scanning-probe microscopy (SPM).

American Film Market, um, Association?

American Furniture Manufacturers Association.

American Friends of Magen David Adom

Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, US Department of Justice.

American Federation for Medical Research. (Formerly the AFCR.)

AntiFerroMagnetic Resonance.

American Forces Network. See AFRTS.

American Forensic Nurses. They seem to be mostly about investigating sexual assault.

Assoc. Française de NORmalisation.

Allied (NATO) Forces NORTHern Europe.

Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The Air Force OXR.

Administradora de Fondos de Pensiones.

Agence France-Presse. I don't know what this means, as it's written in a number of foreign languages. AFP is an EANA member.

Oh, here's something from It Happened in Manhattan, by Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer. It's subtitled ``An oral history of life in the city during the mid-twentieth century''; I'd have recommended ``A collection of recollections.'' Hilton Kramer's recollections begin on page 37. In page 39 and the fall of '52, he landed a job ``on the night shift of the New York bureau of the Agence France Press [sic], the big French news agency in the AP Building at Rockefeller Center.'' The next year he started reviewing exhibitions for the fortnightly Art Digest, which later became Arts Magazine. He continues:

It became very convenient to be working on the night shift for the Agence France. I could see the exhibitions during the day and, since nothing ever went on in that office at night anyway, write my reviews at night. French journalists were lazy beyond imagining. They got what they needed out of the New York Times or the Herald Tribune. The only times I actually had to send anything to Paris on the teletype machine was when the sports editor was too drunk to send the scores.
I was supposed to work from four to midnight but it was French hours. One night I wandered in at six, and the general manager, whom I'd always heard spoken of but had never seen, and whom the French didn't regard as French because he was from Alsace, was there. The place was in an uproar. What happened? It was the day Joe DiMaggio married Marilyn Monroe.

I've read a similar stories of foreign newsgathering in WWII consisting of translating the major local papers, though if the home office doesn't seem to want anything more in-depth -- which why would it? after all -- you might feel foolish working any harder. The French have a reputation for laziness, and I suppose there must be something to explain it, but the French co-workers I've had never exhibited the phenomenon, and if the French economy doesn't collapse before you read this, I'll argue that the French can't be doing anything too far wrong. It might be the work-smarter-not-harder thing. At least compared to the fabled Japanese salaryman, they may be getting drunk after work rather than staying late and getting drunk on the job. Gertrude Stein wrote somewhere that during WWI, the different work styles of French and American workers in railcar repair yards led to conflict, which was eventually resolved by having different nationalities work different shifts. She seemed to think that the different groups were equally effective, though I wonder how she would have known.

I was a bit puzzled about Hilton Kramer's mention of sports reporting. What US scores would be of interest to what readers of French news media? The only explanations of the comment, that I can think of, involve an American over-estimation of the interest generated by American sports in France. For support, perhaps, I can adduce the experience of Gilles in the ND entry.

AppleTalk Filing Protocol.

Associated Foreign Press. This somewhat absurd acronym expansion is unusually informative because it tells something about the competence and credulity of the reporter who uses it. If you google on "Associated Foreign Press," you get (as of April 2012) about 80,000 ghits. Pride of first place goes to the AFP.com website, home of Agence France-Presse, but that's just Google being helpful; AFP knows its own expansion. Many ghits are for other webpages that also include ``AFP'' but not the bogus expansion. That's just Google being unhelpful. Some hits are for blog posts that somehow manage to include the phrase ``associated foreign press.''

So it's hard to tell just how widespread the error is, but the error is widespread: Many websites do give ``Associated Foreign Press'' as the expansion of the well-known AFP. Often, these are sites dedicated to passing along news on a regular basis, using writers who can't be bothered to do more than fatuously guess at the expansion of AFP.

Australian Federal Police.

American Forest & Paper Association. ``The national trade association of the forest, paper, and wood products industry, representing member companies engaged in growing, harvesting, and processing wood and wood fiber, manufacturing pulp, paper, and paperboard products from both virgin and recycled fiber, and producing engineered and traditional wood products. AF&PA represents a segment of industry which accounts for over 8% of the total U.S. manufacturing output.''

Association of Family Practice Administrators.

Association of Faculties of Pharmacy in Canada. It's ``the national non-profit organization advocating the interests of pharmacy education and educators in Canada

Automatic Facility Protection Switching.

AFP Test
Alpha-FetoProtein Test. Blood test for evaluating fetal development.

Armed Forces Qualification Test. Four tests of the ASVAB.

Air Force Regulation.

Air-Fuel Ratio. The ratio of air to fuel intake rates for a combustion engine. Almost certainly the mass ratio, but if you want to remove any doubt you can refer to ``gravimetric AFR.''

afraid of commitment
See fear of commitment.

Air Force Research Laboratory. It's located at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio, which I usually hear called ``Wright-Pat.''

WHO (World Health Organization) Regional Office for AFrica. It really is a scrambled acronym: cf. EMRO, EURO (!), SEARO, or WPRO. It would be simpler if they just expanded it ``AFrican Regional Office of the WHO.''

(US) Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.

American Field Service. The name of a medical volunteer group that started out in 1914 as the ambulance arm of the American Hospital in Paris, and eventually evolved into an international pacifist organization. The AFS site offers a soft-focus, almost triumphalist or Whig history of itself. For a more interesting version, see this page about Literary Ambulance Drivers in WWI.

American Folklore Society. ``... serves to stimulate interest and research in all aspects of the study of folklore and folklife. The Society exists to further the discipline of folklore studies, to improve the professional well-being of its members, and to increase the respect given to diverse cultures and their traditions.''

Founded 1888, a constituent society of the ACLS since 1945. ACLS has an overview. We mention the AFS at our turd de force entry.

Andrew File System. A distributed file system developed at CMU. Effectively, this mounts all disks, with off-site file space having symbolic link directory names /afs/machine.tcp-ip.address/directory-address. Multiple requests to off-site data are satisfied from local cache. Does not appear to be in monstrously widespread use as of Spring 1996. It's used by ESPRIT's NoEs.

UPDATE: Since I'm now at Notre Dame, where AFS is used campus-wide, AFS does now ``appear to be monstrously widespread in use as of'' Summer 1996. I don't claim universal validity for appearances reported here. [Although I don't deny that this is a catholic institution, AFS is probably, in the strictest theological sense, an accident.]

AFS grew out of a Carnegie-Mellon University / IBM collaboration called Andrew, created to set up a distributed computing environment at CMU. The project was named for Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon.

Atomic Fluorescence Spectroscopy.

Here's some instructional material originally from Virginia Tech (VT).

American Foreign Service Association.

American Friends Service Committee. This was once an important pacifist organization.

Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees. Rhymes roughly with ``Ask me.'' They once had a publicity campaign with the slogan ``Ask me about AFSCME.''

A member of the AFL-CIO; see comment on government-employee representation at NLRA.

Association of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics.

American Food Safety Institute. ``...the nation's leader in food manager training and certification [FMC].''

Allied (NATO) Forces SOUTHern Europe.

(US) Air Force SPace Command.

American Federation of Teachers. Founded and controlled by Albert Shanker until his death in around 1997. A merger with the larger NEA has been in on-again, off-again discussion for quite a while. Currently (as of June 2001) off again.

Arizona Federation of Teachers.

Automatic Fine Tuning. Same as Automatic Frequency Control (AFC).

What happens to a person's intellectual activity after the person dies? It slows down considerably, by all accounts. In fact, I gave my mom -- who knows about this stuff -- a copy of Marian Thurm's novel The Clairvoyant (1997) to read, and her only remark on it that I can recall was that the ghost was way too lively.

According to instructions left by Alfred Nobel while he was still alive, his famous prize could not be awarded to anyone who had died before the year in which it was awarded.

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. A trade union. A member of the AFL-CIO. Its membership of 80,000 (as of 1999) includes not only people in entertainment programming and commercials, but also in ``news broadcasting.'' This might disabuse those who think broadcast news is artless and without guile.

Association of Federal Technology Transfer Executives. Concerned with (encouraging, fostering, facilitating) transfer to the private sector of technology developed in federally-funded labs of the US.

Alt.Folklore.Urban. See the archive: TAFKAC.

Alternate-Fuel Vehicle.

America's Funniest Home Videos. An ABC television program that shows videos of people falling. You can't say there's no innovation on the program; the title used to be abbreviated AFHV.

Audio-Follow-Video. Switching mode in which audio signals are automatically routed with the video signals they're associated with.

American Foundation for Vision Awareness. (If that link no longer works, try this.)

``The American Foundation for Vision Awareness (AFVA) is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to educating the public about their vision, to creating awareness of quality eye and vision care and to supporting vision-related scientific research. The AFVA awards research grants and scholarships, conducts public service projects and provides educational materials to the public.''

Acronym Free Zone. (Not its real name.)

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Arena Football 2. The minor league of the AFL, founded in 2000.

AGriculture. All three major Scrabble dictionaries accept this word. According to the OSPD, it's a noun, so there's a plural ags.

AG, A.G.
Aktiengesellschaft. German, `stock company.' One kind of corporation. Closest approximation to Swedish AB, US Corp., British plc, or Italian S.p.A..

Albumin/Globulin [ratio].

Allen and Greenough. Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges, ultimately edited by J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge, A. A. Howard, and Benj. L. D'Ooge. Now available free online. Yeah, the book is old -- but so is the language.

(Domain name code for) Antigua and Barbuda. The CIA Factbook has some basic information on the Emirates. On the Emirates? I must have cobbled this entry together from pieces of another entry.

Arbeitsgemeinschaft. German: `Working Group.' A productive affix like the English WG, as for example in AGI. Also abbreviated A, as in AD and AMA.


Chemical symbol for silver, from the Latin Argentum. Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Attorney General. Person who would, in the absence of this naming tradition, be called the Secretary of [the US, or a state's] Department of Justice. Plural is Attorneys General. Possessive seems to be Attorney General's. The traditional postpositive adjective arises from the official status of French in British government for a few centuries after Hastings.

Authors Guild. The largest trade group in the US representing free-lance writers. They don't actually use the AG abbreviation themselves, but I'm sure someone does. There's a certain amount of staff and program overlap between this organization and Authors Registry (AR). They also share office space and a fax machine:
330 West 42nd Street, 29th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10036
fax: +1 (212) 564-5363

That missing apostrophe really gets on my nerves. I wish they would use the abbreviation.

This is probably as good a place as any to point out that the 212 area code has great cachet. It says ``uptown [Manhattan].'' Because of the high density of telephones in New York City, the area code has had to be restricted to a shrinking area, and this is a matter of some resentment, protest, and mourning in the newly abandoned areas.

Abrasive Grain Association. Well alright already, there's no need to become abusive! I didn't intend to rub you the wrong way.

``The membership of the AGA consists of manufacturers of Silicon Carbide [SiC] and Aluminum Oxide that is sold for use in abrasives.'' Oh.

American Gas Association.

Not related to

American Gastroenterological Association. Related link: ADHF.

Not related to preceding entry.

American Go Association. ``Go'' the game of black and white stones on a rectangular ruled board. Not ``go'' the English verb.

Assemblée générale annuelle. Translates AGM.

Association of Government Accountants. ``Advancing Government Accountability.''

``AGA serves government accountability professionals by providing quality education, fostering professional development and certification, and supporting standards and research to ...'' Advance Government Accountability!

Advanced Genetic Analysis Center. At UMN. The name kinda suggests ``agh-- ack!''

Australian Government Analytical Laboratories. Subsumed in NMI when that was established on July 1, 2004.

(NATO) Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development.

Asymptotic Giant Branch. This is a kind of star. ``Branch'' refers to a curve that branches off the main sequence in the H-R diagram.

The Alexander Graham BELL Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Associated General Contractors of America. ``The Associated General Contractors will be the association of choice for those associated with the construction industry.'' Sounds like something you'd write on an essay test if you didn't know the answer.

Assyrian General Conference.

Automatic Gain Control. A feature of receivers of analog broadcast signals: automatic adjustment of the gain (amplification) to compensate for variations in broadcast signal strength (and so to maintain output power).

AudioGraphic Conferencing. Terminology in the ITU-T's T.120 draft standard of transmission protocols for multimedia data. Okay, so it's outta alphabetical order. Gimme some artistic license.

Atmospheric General Circulation Model.

A. A. Abrikosov, L. P. Gor'kov, and E. Dzyaloshinskii: Methods of Quantum Field Theory in Statistical Physics (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1963). A classic; sadly butchered in a new edition, I've heard.

Academy of General Dentistry.

Association Genevoise des Diabétiques.

This was a pretty lame entry, and the link was dead too.

agency shop
An employment where the labor contract stipulates that union nonmembers pay a fee for the services performed by the union. [At the very least, these must include collective bargaining. The certified union is required to represent every employee, member or not, under the terms of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA, q.v.).] The agency shop is a weak form of the union shop, described in this glossary under the closed shop rubric.

age verification
Credit-card information. Terminology used at some of your more, uh, more graphics-intensive sites.

Ashtabulans of Geneva, Harpersfield, Austinburg & Saybrook Townships. An environmental group in Ashtabula County, Ohio. I am ah, appalled at how contrived their name is.

Academy for Guided Imagery. Sounds a bit like public relations, maybe advertising. But wait -- it has to do with health and medicine. Ah, I got it: it's about ``interactive medical imaging.'' That must be endoscopy, gastrocams, arthroscopy and stuff, right? No?

``Interactive Guided Imagerysm (IGIsm) utilizes imagery, the natural language of the unconscious mind. IGIsm is a powerful modality helping a patient/client connect with the deeper resources available to them at cognitive, affective and somatic levels. The guide's role is not to provide `better' images for the client, but to facilitate an enhanced awareness of the unconscious imagery the patient/client already has, and help clients learn to effectively work with this imagery on their own behalf. This process is capable of bringing about profound psychological and physiological change, as it simultaneously empowers and educates the patients.''

Oh. I, uh, see. I'll be sure to schedule an initial consultation/pitch. Real soon.

Adjusted Gross Income. A term used by the US IRS. If you need help preparing your tax return, try visiting the IRS website.

Agenzia Giornalistica Italia. Although this expansion occurs in the title text of its homepage, the initialism seems to be in the process of sealing up; in addition to such brands as AGI NEWS ON, AGI Sanità, and AGI Solution, one also sees AGI Agenzia Italia.

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Influenza im Kilian. `Influenza Working Group at Kilian,' Germany.

Association de Gestion Internationale Collective des Oeuvres Audiovisuelles. `Association for International Collective Management of Audio-Visual Works.'

``[S]et up in Geneva in 1981 as an international non-governmental organization, to defend [film] producers' copyrights, [e]specially as far as TV retransmission by cable is concerned.'' Has developed the International Standard AudioVisual Number (ISAN) jointly with CISAC.

Cardinals over the age of 79 (such an odd number) are ineligible to vote for pope. It's a significant disability. In the second consistory of his reign, Pope Francis elevated 20 men to the College of Cardinals, and 5 were already too old to vote for his successor.

Adjusted Gross Income Tax. This is the Indiana corporate income tax. AGIT is based on ``that part of the [corporation's] adjusted gross income derived from sources within the State of Indiana'' [Ind. Code Sec. 6-3-2-1 (1972)]. It is computed as a fraction of the federal income tax paid by the corporation.

Until 2003, the AGIT was one of three interlocking corporate income taxes. Another one was called the Gross Income Tax (GIT). This was based on (read carefully now) ``gross income derived from activities or businesses or any other source within the state of Indiana'' [Ind. Code Sec. 6-2-1-2 (1972)]. The GIT was a tax on gross receipts from the sale of products or services in Indiana.

The profits of a corporation doing business in Indiana may result from revenues received from anywhere in or out of state, so gross Indiana receipts alone (used to compute the GIT) won't show it (never mind computing the net). I believe that the GIT was the older tax, and that the AGIT was cooked up to capture revenues from interstate business.

Setting aside the tricky details of determining the Indiana fraction, the AGIT is based on all revenues in and out of Indiana, and the GIT was based on revenues from Indiana only. If all of the GIT and AGIT had been due, then revenue from Indiana would have been double-taxed. The intention was not to double the tax on Indiana receipts, but to tax once the income from non-Indiana receipts. However, the computation methods were completely different and determined (we won't say how accurately) either an all-Indiana number or an all-US number (let's talk about international trade some other day). In order, coarsely, to avoid double-taxing the income represented in the Indiana receipts, an amount up to the value of the GIT was ``credited against'' the AGIT. (I.e., the value of the GIT was credited to the payment of the AGIT if AGIT was greater. If GIT exceeded AGIT, then no AGIT was due.)

When the GIT was abolished, the GIT credit against the AGIT was abolished along with it, making the change roughly revenue-neutral while reducing the paperwork. I think this is called tax reform. There is the following internal complication for the state: GIT revenue used to go to the general fund while AGIT revenue went to a property-tax relief fund. When the GIT was abolished, perhaps this changed. The third Indiana corporate income tax of those days was the finely named SNIT (Supplemental Corporation Net Income Tax); it was repealed in 2003 as well.

AGricultural Information Technology.

Above Ground Level. (Altitudes are quoted ``35 m AGL'' to indicate altitude above the local ground level. Cf. ``MSL.'')

l'Assemblée Générale des étudiants de Louvain.

Alternating-Gradient Magnetometer.

Annual General Meeting. Term is used by ACRID, NWR, OACL, and SHS, for instances. (AGA in French.)

Association Genevoise des Malentendants. Roughly, `Geneva Association for the Hard-of-Hearing.'

Active Galactic Nucle{i|us}. See M. C. Begelman, R. D. Blandford and M. D. Rees: Reviews of Modern Physics, vol. 56, p. 255 (1984).

AGriculture Network Information Center. ``[A] guide to quality agricultural information on the Internet as selected by the National Agricultural Library, Land-Grant Universities, and other institutions.''

agnostic dyslexic insomniac
Lies awake nights wondering whether there really is a dog. Cf. Dyslexic Occultist.

American Gastroenterological Organization.

Art Gallery of Ontario. In Toronto.

Antarctic Geospace Observatory NETwork. An Italian-hosted database for geomagnetic and ionospheric data from a number of cooperating groups.

An Ancient Greek word (agorá) meaning `public place, assembly, market.' A Hebrew coin worth one cent of a shekel (NIS).

Accelerated Graphics Port. A dedicated bus designed to improve 3D graphics performance.

American Guild of Patient Account Management. They should have merged with the American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM). Instead, they became AAHAM.

Australian Government Publishing Service.

Advanced Gas (fission) Reactor.


AGreek, AGrk.
Ancient Greek. A language, not an epithet.

Debra Hamel maintains a list of summer courses in classical subjects, including classical Greek, offered by North American Universities. We even have a substantial entry on Greek right here in this glossary.

AGRICultural OnLine Access. A service of the National Agricultural Library (NAL). ``[A] bibliographic database of citations to the agricultural literature [broadly defined -- includes literature of plant and animal sciences, forestry, entomology, soil and water resources, agricultural economics, agricultural engineering, agricultural products, alternative farming practices, and food and nutrition] created by the National Agricultural Library and its cooperators [sic]. Production of these records in electronic form began in 1970, but the database covers materials in all formats, including printed works from the 15th century.''

Latin for `farmer.' One of the extremely rare (native) first-declension nouns that has male gender.

Something comparable occurs in Hebrew with av (`father'), which takes a plural in -ot (which is normally female): avot, `fathers.' (The very common informal singular form, aba, typically translated `dad,' is an Aramaic loan.) Perhaps the best-loved book of the Mishnah is Pirke Avot (`Wisdom of the Fathers'), a kind of quote book. Hebrew has the usual allotment of irregularities; there are a number of irregular grammatically male nouns with feminine-form plurals, but no other such common nouns that have male natural gender. Examples include the following:

(The masculine noun lailah, `night,' ends in the vowel qamats followed by the consonant heh, which makes it morphologically feminine.)

There is one common word -- ishah, meaning `woman, wife' -- that has natural female gender and masculine-form plural (nashim). The corresponding masculine words are ish, `man,' and anashim, `men.' The male and female singular forms are related in a standard way. On the other hand, the masculine plural is again irregular, though it at least has masculine form. Much of the strangeness, though not the male-form female plural, is understandable from the fact that ish is a shortened form of an older word for man: enosh.

Other grammatically female nouns with masculine-form plurals do not have a very clear common gender. Examples:

For more grammatical-number weirdness in Hebrew, see the chaim entry.

Gnaeus Julius Agricola (lived CE 40-93). Governor of Roman Britain and father-in-law of Tacitus, who wrote a biography of him. There's another, more famous Agricola, but for historical reasons his information is elsewhere.

AGRIcultural Science and Technology Database.

AgGaS2. Silver Gallium Sulfide is a frequency-doubling crystal for IR (around CO2 10-µm lines). It's similar in properties to AGSe.

Alternating-Gradient Synchrotron. (Usually written without the hyphen.) Like the one at BNL.

American Geriatrics Society.

American Guitar Society. ``We are an organization dedicated to the interests of guitarists and those who enjoy guitar music'' and live near the campus of California State University, Northridge -- you know, like, in the valley. Founded in 1923, and a fine organization I have no doubt, but it doesn't seem to have any national events to go with its national name. I think we'll change the name of SBF to Stammtisch Beau Fleuve Mundial.

Americans for Gun Safety. See AGSF.

Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland. It was founded as the Conference of University Teachers of German in Great Britain and Ireland (eventuially abbreviated CUTG), and changed its name to the current one in 2009.

CUTG was founded in 1932. Searching the web for information about CUTG, I see this fact mentioned regularly without comment, as if 1932 were not a most inauspicious year in German and world history. [It's the year the Nazis became the largest party in the Reichstag. When my grandfather voted in the German presidential election of the spring of 1932, he told his daughter it was the last time he would vote there. He might have been wrong: The anti-republican vote (a solid majority) was split among the Nazis, the Communists, and the German National People's Party (along with some tiny parties), so Hitler was unable to create a dictatorship until after the Reichstag fire.] If there's a significant backstory to the founding of the CUTG, however, I haven't discovered it yet.

AgGaSe2. Silver Gallium Selenide is a frequency-doubling crystal for IR (around the CO2 10-µm lines). Similar in properties to AGS.

AGriculture SECtor Adjustment Loan. The handful of instances I can find of this acronym that do not occur on a page that mentions the World Bank mostly occur on pages that mention la Banque Mondiale or el Banco Mundial or suchlike.

The World Bank has been issuing these loans to national agricultural development programs since the 1980's. The story goes that AGSECAL's issued before 1991 were ``not fully market-oriented'' and ``did not face basic policy constraints,'' and consequently their growth impact was limited. Since then, however, those problems have been fixed and now the impact of AGSECAL's is merely difficult to measure. I would find this all a lot more amusing of I didn't pay taxes.

Americans for Gun Safety Foundation. The old website has a floating window with a message that begins ``Americans for Gun Safety (AGS) and the AGS Foundation (AGSF) have been folded into Third Way, an organization founded and operated by the former AGS and AGSF management team.'' The box to close the window is actually a link to the Third Way homepage.

Association of Genetic Technologists. ``[F]ounded in 1975, [it] is a non-profit professional organization established to promote cooperation and exchange of information among those engaged in classical cytogenetics, molecular and biochemical genetics, and to stimulate interest in genetics as a career.''

AudioGraphics Terminal.

Address-Generation Unit.

American Geophysical Union.

Automatic Ground Unit.

Spanish, `water.' You will often see this preceded by the male definite article: ``el agua.'' This is done to avoid the dysphony (called hiatus) of la-a, and is common practice with female nouns beginning in a. Grammatical gender is otherwise unaffected, however. The noun agrees with female adjectives (el agua tibia, `the warm water') and takes a female article in the plural (las aguas, `the waters'). The pronunciation of agua is discussed at the AWWA entry.

A Spanish word that can sometimes be translated `to tolerate.' The semantic range of the word does not match very well any English words as I know them to be used. The reason is that aguantar always implies patience, or an element of time, like the English endure, but is not used, like endure, in the simple sense of last (which lacks the element of suffering or stress).

You can translate ¡no aguanto más! fairly accurately as `I can't stand it any more!' You can also translate no lo aguanto as `I can't stand him.' However, in this phrase the English stand, though etymologically related to stay, no longer carries the implication that what one specifically can't stand is some amount of time with him. You can instantaneously not stand someone. If you want to express this specific meaning in Spanish, you're better off saying you detest him (lo odio) or even that you can't tolerate him (no lo tolero).

Anyway, that's my Sprachgefühl on the subject.

According to Corominas y Pascual, aguantar is not etymologically related to agua. Instead, it appears to be derived from the Italian verb agguantare (with a somewhat different meaning). That Italian word is certainly derived from the Italian guanto (cf. Span. guante) meaning `glove.' The reference is to the mailed fist of a medieval knight.

Jocular term in Spanish for the null medical analgesic, from aguantar + -ol (ending common in the names of drugs, associated with the -ol chemical ending for alcohols). `Bearitol,' to coin a translation, with the added element of a pun on all. The idea is that if you're out of the usual pharmaceuticals like NSAID's, you take aguantol instead (i.e., you put up with it).

Automated Guided Vehicle.

Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) System[s].

Anthropogenic Global Warming.


Abhandlungen der Gesellschaft der Wissenchaften zu Göttingen. `Proceedings of the Scientific Society at Goettingen.' AGWG, Philologisch-Historische Klasse was a classics journal (which classicists tended to abbreviate simply as AGWG). The current title is Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen, Philologisch-Historische Klasse. It wasn't and isn't catalogued in TOCS-IN.

AGencY. Usually used as an abbreviation only for an organizational entity, and not for the concept of being an agent.

Ah, AH
Ampere-Hour (3.6 kilocoulombs). Common unit with batteries. A magnesium alkaline AA cell typically has a charge of 2.4 AH.


Ancient History. Journal catalogued by TOCS-IN.

AH, A.H.
Anno Hegirae. Latin, `[in the] year of the hegira.' 1 AH began at sunset on July 15, 622 AD (Julian). Different transliterations of hegira (hejira, hijra, ...) occur not just for the usual reason that source and target language have different phonemics, but also because Arabic is variously pronounced.

Art Histor{ y | ian }.

Advanced Hardware Architectures.

American Heart Association.

American Hippotherapy Association.

``The American Hippotherapy Association Inc. (AHA Inc.) is a group of medical professionals (physical, occupational and speech therapists) and others who are interested in the use of equine movement as a treatment strategy. AHA is an affiliate partner of The North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA), a national non-profit organization.''

Getting Medicare to pay for something that doesn't have a number in some diagnostic manual must make bronc-busting look like child's play.

A (therapeutic) masseuse I know owns four horses. I'll have to ask her about this.

I asked. She says she really has three too many.

American Historical Association, ``the professional association for all historians.'' Founded 1884, a constituent society of the ACLS since 1919. ACLS has an overview.

Met Jan. 8-11, 1998 in Seattle, Washington, and Jan. 7-10, 1999 in the other Washington. Meetings Jan. 6-9, 2000 (Chicago) and Jan. 4-7, 2001 (Boston). It seems they like to have meetings beginning every 364 days (2000 is a leap year). Hmmm. 364 is an even multiple of seven.

There's also an Organization of American Historians (OAH), and now a Historical Society, on the initiative of that entertaining guy Eugene D. Genovese, set up specifically as an alternative:

``Some historians have banded together to form a new professional association, the Historical Society, to serve as an alternative to the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians. Leaders of the new group, such as Eugene D. Genovese and Donald Kagan, say its emphasis will be on research and ideas. They blast the existing groups for historians for focusing too much on current political issues and obsessing over issues such as race, class, and gender. While leaders say that they want the group to be ideologically diverse, many of its organizers are conservatives. Some scholars -- including some liberal professors -- are welcoming the new organization. Others see it as a new club for conservatives who are hostile to recent trends in scholarship, and the increased diversity of the professoriate. Is this new organization needed? Are the AHA and the OAH less useful than they once were or could be? Should they be reformed, replaced, or praised?''

American Homeowners Association.

American Hospital Association. Celebrated its centennial in 1998.

American Hyperlexia Association.

As with priapism, hyperlexia is an affliction for which it might be hard to gain sympathy. At least at first, people might suppose you're bragging rather than complaining. Hyperlexia is a childhood syndrome named after its most positive symptom: a precocious ability to read. Unfortunately, this is coupled with difficulty in understanding and producing spoken language. The problem seems to arise from difficulty in mastering grammar and (other) abstract concepts. There are usually also problems of socialization, but it is not clear whether this is not largely a consequence of the verbal deficiencies.

The good news is that many or most children grow out of the syndrome around age five or six, though some difficulties may remain. A widespread complaint among parents with hyperlexic children is of the absence of resources, informational or organizational, so here's a page about it from a site called K12 Academics.

Anesthesia History Association.

You expect me to say ``I don't remember a thing,'' but I've got too much class for that kind of cheap humor.

Angus Housing Association. Wouldn't they be happier just grazing in the grass? The AHA has offices in Dundee and --oh! -- Angus.

Art History and Archaeology.

Australian Healthcare Association.

Australian Historical Association. Nowadays (since 2002), the main activity of the AHA is repelling the violent assault by Keith Windschuttle. (His book, The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, published Dec. 2002, argues that academic historians' accepted view of Australian colonial history is a politically correct fraud. The academic view, since the 1970's or so, is that the settler society engaged in a pattern of conquest, dispossession and killing of the indigenous inhabitants.)

Interestingly, both the Australian and American Historical Associations have chosen theaha as their organizational domain name (theaha.org.au and theaha.org). I assume that in both cases, others (Australian Hotels and American Hospital Associations) had already occupied the <aha.org>'s.

Australian Hotels Association. Est'd. 1839.

Aboriginal Health Access Centre.

American Health Assistance Foundation.

African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American. Aha-ha.


Ancient History Bulletin. Catalogued by TOCS-IN.

American Home Business Association. Also see the related CENA, NASE and, of course, SBA.

Academic Health Center. A teaching hospital that may not necessarily be a hospital, exactly. The acronym AHC is also used for the Association of Academic Health Centers. I guess if you're really, really smart, you handle the disambiguation dilemma.

Amorphous, Hydrogenated Carbon.

Association of Academic Health Centers. Not ``AAHC.''

American Health Care Association.

Arts & Humanities Citation Index. A product of ISI, q.v.

Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. Former name of AHRQ.

Abbreviation of German althochdeutsch, `Old High German' (OHG, q.v.). In German, as in French and Spanish and probably most West European languages other than English, adjectives related to proper nouns are not capitalized even though the corresponding proper nouns are. Hence deutsch (with its inflected forms deutsche, deutschen, deutscher, deutsches) is the adjective `German' (referring to language and nationality) and das Deutsch is the proper noun `German' (referring specifically to `the German language). An abbreviation for the noun Althochdeutsch (which would also be capitalized) is not common in German dictionaries; instead, ahd. is inserted as a modifier before relevant etymons.

American Health Decisions.

American Heritage Dictionary. See AHD4.

American Hospital Directory. ``The American Hospital Directory provides online data for over 6,000 hospitals. Our database of information is built from Medicare claims data (MedPAR and OPPS), hospital cost reports, and other public use files obtained from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The American Hospital Directory is not affiliated with the American Hospital Association (AHA). Data is from both public and private sources.''

Animal Health Distributors Association. ``AHDA is an Association of responsible animal health product distributors, dedicated to serving the best interests of its members; in particular by protecting their rights to sell and supply, and securing the continued availability of, a wide range of non-prescription animal medicines.''

Fourth Edition of the AHD, published in 2000, available online at the Bartleby reference site.

Anomalous Hall Effect.

Animal Health/Emerging Animal Disease.

(Irish) Association for Higher Education Access and Disability.

Association for Higher Education And Disability. I imagine that they're for these things in different senses of the word for.

Assets and HEAlth Dynamics of the Oldest Old. ``A national survey of community-based [I think that means not institutionalized] Americans born in 1923 or earlier. It is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. The focus of the AHEAD survey is to understand the impacts and interrelationships of changes and transitions for older Americans in three major domains: health, financial, and family.''

AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

American Health Foundation. A research center that focused on prevention rather than treatment. (You know -- the responsible and joyless approach to health: cutting out eating, relaxing, smoking, drinking, and other pleasureable vices, instead of cancerous tumors). Founded in 1969, later renamed the Institute for Cancer Protection. It went bankrupt in 2004. It seems to be a popular target of conspiracy theorists on the web, based on somewhat thin evidence.

AntiHemophilic Factor. Earlier name for AHG.

American Hospital Formulary Service.

American Hospital Formulary Service Drug Information.

Anti-Hemophilic Globulin. In Britain, biotic processes differ somewhat, and the rôle of this substance is filled by something quite different that is known as Anti-Haemophilic Globulin, which conveniently and largely coincidentally has the same acronym. The latter substance was first isolated by A. J. Patek and F. H. L. Taylor in 1937. Now renamed clotting factor VIII (this is the seventh clotting factor, since there is no factor VI), this is the factor missing from the blood of untreated individuals suffering from classic hemophilia.

(UK) Association for the History of Glass, Ltd. Functions as the British section of l'AIHV.

APPN Host-to-Host Channel.

American Health Institute. A company that sells food supplements.

Animal Health Institute. ``The Animal Health Institute is the U.S. trade association that represents manufacturers of animal health care products - the pharmaceuticals, vaccines and feed additives used to produce a safe supply of meat, milk, poultry and eggs, and the veterinary medicines that help pets live longer, healthier lives.''

Spanish word meaning `[over] there.'

American Health Information Management Association. Currently (February 2005) the name of an organization founded as the Association of Record Librarians of North America (ARLNA, q.v.).

America's Health Insurance Plans. A lobbying group that campaigned against the Clintons' health care proposals in 1994.

Artists' Health Insurance Resource Center. ``The AHIRC database was created in 1998 by The Actors' Fund of America, with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, as a health insurance resource for artists and people in the entertainment industry. Since then, with support from The Commonwealth Fund, it has expanded to include resources for the self-employed, low-income workers, the under-insured, the uninsured who require medical care and many other groups.'' (Emphasis added by SBF.) The site sports, in larger letters than the Artists' expansion, the expansion ``Access to Health Insurance/Resources for Care.'' The idea is probably that not every waiter is waiting for his big acting break.

(The Actors' Fund of America is ``a nonprofit organization founded in 1882, provides for the social welfare of all entertainment professionals--designers, writers, sound technicians, musicians, dancers, administrators, directors, film editors, stagehands--as well as actors.'')

Accounting Historians Journal.

American Heart Journal.

Amanda Holdings Ltd. The webpage explains: ``It's not hockey!'' They have a page of links to the ``AHL'' that you were looking for.

American Hockey League. One of three North American hockey minor leagues (the others are IHL and ECHL).

Armory Hill Living History Association.

American Helicopter Museum (and Education Center).


An old German unit of liquid measure equal to one Ohm. It had other A-names as well, ultimately from the (medieval?) Latin ama (so I presume it kept feminine gender). Back in the day, liquid measure was of two sorts: wine and beer. The Ahm was clearly a wine measure, typically about 40 (wine) gallons. The volume represented by an Ahm varied by a few gallons from city to city in Germany.

Autonomous Homing Munitions. Shoot and scoot.

Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology.

American Holistic Medical Association.

Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council.

Advanced Heterostructure and Nanostructure Workshop, or something like that. Now (since 2008, at least as of 2012) WINDS (Workshop on Innovative Nanoscale Devices and Systems), q.v.

Academy of Hospice Physicians. Founded in 1988, now called the AAHPM.

Accountable Health Plan.

The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy. It ``is the only association dedicated exclusively to advancing and promoting the health care development profession. Resource development professionals turn to AHP for the very latest in fund-raising education and information.''

American Horseshoe Pitchers Association of America. That's the name given on the organization's homepage, but AHPA is often expanded ``American Horseshoe Pitchers Association'' -- for brevity, I imagine. Either that or they'll take anyone who pitches American horseshoes, no matter where they pitch them. Oops, strike that idea: from 1921 to 1949, it was the ``National Horseshoe Pitchers Association of the United States of America.'' It had been founded in 1914 as the ``Grand League of the American Horseshoe Pitchers Association.'' Anyway, it's not about baseball pitchers with a wicked curve.

Allied Health Professions Admission Test.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

American Historical Review. Journal catalogued by TOCS-IN; I have no idea why.

Acton Hot Rod Association. They aren't a racing organization; they are ``a group of people interested in the culture of Street, Strip, Custom, Retro and Modified vehicles of all shapes and sizes. We meet up once a month, take part in shows, even hold our own!''

American Hot Rod Association. A drag-racing sanctioning body that came into being in 1955 as a competitor to the already established NHRA. It was eclipsed as drag-racing's number two by the IHRA, which was created in 1970. The AHRA went out of business in 1984.

UK Arts and Humanities Research Board.

UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.

American Heritage Rivers Initiative. I guess this is not the most self-explanatory name. The most prominent link at the AHRI homepage is anchored on the words ``What is the American Heritage Rivers Initiative?'' Along about now you're probably beginning to get impatient, thinking ``yes, yes, and what is the answer to that question?'' I don't know. It seems to be a pot of money with no strings attached, for the US government to give to others to spend in various ways, but the documentation provided by the EPA is an executive order that doesn't refer to any enabling legislation, so it's not especially obvious where the money comes from. I guess it's general EPA funds.

The AHRI ``has three objectives: natural resource and environmental protection, economic revitalization, and historic and cultural preservation.'' I suppose if they felt like it, they could turn down every request for funds on the grounds that in furthering one of the objectives, it was counterproductive of another. That at least would pretty much solve the funding problem.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Part of the DHHS. Formerly the AHCPR.

American Helicopter Society. (Notice that the domain name is <vtol.org>.)

American Headache Society. Previously called AASH.

American Hemochromatosis Society.

American Horticultural Society.

The Antiquarian Horological Society. SBF has a small horology entry as well.

Asian Health Services. Mission: ``To serve and advocate for the immigrant and refugee Asian community regarding its health rights, and to assure access to health care services regardless of income, insurance status, language, or culture.''

Australian Herpetological Society.

Association for Health Services Research. ``The Association for Health Services Research is the only national membership organization devoted to the promotion of research focused on the delivery, quality and financing of the United States health care system.'' (Quoted from the old website at <http://www.ahsr.org/>.) Afterwards it became the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy, and since then AcademyHealth:

``AcademyHealth is the professional home for health services researchers, policy analysts, and practitioners, and a leading, non-partisan resource for the best in health research and policy.''

Anchor-Handling Tug. Tugboats that tug anchors, derricks and other immovable stuff.

Animal Health Trust.

Anchor-Handling Tug/Supply. Hybrid supply ship and AHT.

Air-Handling Unit.

Advanced Heterostructure Workshop. Succeeded by WINDS (Workshop on Innovative Nanoscale Devices and Systems), q.v.

AI, a.i.
Active Ingredient. Placebos haven't any. (American: Have none. Don't have any.) [American makes much less frequent use than British of negative contractions of verbs not functioning as modals.]

A family of tree sloths of Central and South America. Here's a shorter entry in English. One of the most important animals in Scrabble®. All three major Scrabble dictionaries accept this important two-letter word, as well as ais.

Aggressiveness Index. Oooh! What's this manly expansion doing here between a sloth and a pansy like ``Amnesty International''? It's called intimidation.

AI is a term used in the water-treatment field.

American Idol. A TV program.

Amnesty International. Here's an entry from the same dictionary that gives the animal Ai link above.


An ancient Canaanite city that God let it be difficult for Joshua to conquer, as punishment for a spoils-of-war segmentation error. This rather took the bloom off the rose of the Jericho success. See book of Joshua, from chapter 7. There must be a lesson in this somewhere. Cf. AI.

Actually, ai means `ruin,' and the ruins referred to biblically are usually identified (after W. F. Albright) with a site found at Et-tel. That site was destroyed in the early Bronze Age and abandoned until the Iron Age, which well explains the name, but not how it was a battle site. The guess (of Alan Millard) is that it was normally unoccupied but served as a fortress in war.

Angewandte Informatik. Applied Informatics (cog sci, call it).

(Domain name code for) Anguiilla.

Appraisal Institute. ``A worldwide organization dedicated to real estate appraisal education, publishing and advocacy.'' Based in Chicago.

Aortic Insufficiency.

Application Identifier.

Artificial Insemination. Vide JSAI.

Artificial Intelligence. Occasionally leads to Architectural Inelegance. Vide JSAI.

Artificial Island.

Asphalt Institute. It sounds like an institute dedicated to putting the onus on the anus -- or is that a hemionus?

Accuracy In Academia.

Aerospace Industries Association of America. (The name is normally given with the ``of America'' but the abbreviation AIAA is avoided to prevent confusion with another AIAA.) The AIA co-sponsors (with NAR) the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC, q.v.).

The AIA began its organizational life in 1919 as the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce of America (ACCA, q.v.). Following WWII, the ACCA reorganized and refocused on civilian business, and changed its name to Aircraft Industries Association of America, Inc. The initial A-word was changed to Aerospace in 1959.

American Iatrogenic Association. In principle, the name is ambiguous because iatrogenic is just an adjective meaning `originating with the physician.' But what originates with the physician? I don't know and it's driving me to mental illness! Is it that the Association that originates with physicians? Yes, that's not it. In practice, iatrogenic is only ever used in reference to one kind of thing. ``The American Iatrogenic Association is devoted to the study and reporting of medical errors that lead to disease and death.''

American Infertility Association.

According to this FAQ from AIA, ``Couples are considered infertile when they're unable to conceive after a year of unprotected sex--the standard definition. On average it'll take six months for a 30-year-old couple to achieve a pregnancy and nine months for those five years older. Indeed, at age 37 approximately half of all couples will fail to conceive within a year. By the time they reach 42,that number may be much higher.''

The word average in the preceding is used imprecisely.

American Institute of Architects. If that link has collapsed, try e-architect (that seems to be their new e-digs). The AIA is the main national professional association of architects in the US.

American Insurance Association. ``The Advocate for Property-Casualty Insurers.''

Anno Independentiae Americanae. Latin, `Year of American Independence.' A designation for dates that numbers years from 1 starting in AD 1776. Just to keep things simple, the first year of independence is taken to be the whole of 1776, starting in January. There's an example on line. Here's a mostly accurate online transcription (image of original here) of a diploma dated the twentieth day of July, 1859. The date is given thus:
Datum ex aedibus academicis die Vicessimo Julii Anno Salutis millesimo octigentesimo quinquagesimo Nono Anno Independentiae Americanae Octogessimo quarto.
Capitalization and spelling above are they appeared in the original; the underlined words were filled in by hand and appear to have ss where ns or s should appear (vicensimo or vicesimo, and similarly octogensimo or octogesimo). I would never make a mistake like that in Latin. I would make it in English. Anno Salutis is `year of salvation' (equiv. A.D.). He serves images of some other similarly dated university documents, linked from our S.P.D. entry.

Traditionally, years were designated according to the reigns of monarchs -- ``in the first year of the illustrious reign of Bozo the Diffident,'' etc. (In the Roman republic, years were identified by who the consuls were. See also A.U.C.) By the time of the American Revolution this practice had been long abandoned for practical dating, but naming years according to the non-reign of a monarch was still an interesting sort of (formal) innovation. I don't think Cromwell would have done it. The fashion was adopted (perhaps invented) by the French during their revolution. The French Revolution was a glorious affair that was so successful that it has so far led to five republics in France alone. It also led to bloodbath, dictatorships, and a war that engulfed Europe. It continues to be an inspiration to those who prefer their revolutions to be bloody and to result in dictatorships ostentatiously in the service of the people. The French Revolution is fondly remembered and celebrated by the French to this day, and the year that kicked it off (1789) has also been the start date of a couple of calendars. The revolutionary calendar was more revolutionary, not just renaming months but also instituting ten-day weeks. The philosophical calendar of Comte retained seven-day weeks and was full of secular saint days.

Archaeological Institute of America.

656 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02215-2010
Tel.: (617) 353-9364
Fax (617) 353-6550

The AIA publishes the AJA and Archaeology Magazine.

The AIA and the American Philological Association (APA) hold their annual meeting jointly. It doesn't take much training to learn how to distinguish the archaeologists and the classicists by how they dress. Also present in small numbers are ``angels'' -- rich folk in rich dress who make many of the expeditions possible.

The AIA is a scholarly society, so if any of your friends belong, you know that -- even if they're just ``Grazing In The Grass'' -- they're Friends of Distinction.

I-can-dig-it he-can-dig-it she-can-dig-it we-can-dig-it they-can-dig-it you-can-dig-it. Oh, let's dig it.... Can you dig it baby?!

Aerospace Industries Association of America. Try to use AIA instead. AIA is standard for this organization, and it avoids confusion with...

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.


Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica. The AIAC holds a congress every five years. The XVI International Congress of Classical Archaeology, first to be held in the United States, was hosted by Harvard University Art Museums (by the Department of Ancient and Byzantine Art and Numismatics, in particular), 23-26 August 2003.

Automobile Industry Action Group.

All India Association of Industries.

AIA/IAA - Canada
Archaeological Institute of America/Institut Archéologique d'Amérique, an independent Canadian affiliate (founded 1994) of the Boston-based Archaeological Institute of America (AIA).

Association of International Automobile Manufacturers.

American Indian/Alaska Native.

Asociación de Industrias de Acabados de Superficies. `Association of surface-finish industries.'

Academy of International Business. (If the above link doesn't work, try <http://aib.msu.edu/>.)

``[T]he leading association of scholars and specialists in the field of international business.
Established in 1959, today, AIB has nearly 3000 members in 65 different countries around the world. Members include scholars from the leading global academic institutions as well consultants, researchers, and NGO representatives. ...''

Akademie für Internationale Bildung. ``We at AIB are specialists in international higher education, located in Bonn and Düsseldorf, both in the heart of Europe.'' This isn't inaccurate, but it seems tactically imprecise. They might have said that these two cities are both in the heart of Germany. They also have an irritating habit of never referring to themselves by exactly the same name twice. One name is ``The AIB Academy of International Education Duesseldorf Germany.'' (The intended sense of the German noun Bildung here is `education.' Until we have a Bildungsroman entry, I'll just mention here that the single word that most frequently works as a good translation of the German verb bilden (cognate with English build, of course) is form. Bildung, corresponding to building, means `formation' of some kind. On the other hand, Bild has come to have the meaning of `picture.' Don't think that's so odd; English build in the sense of body type might seem as strange.)

Allied Irish Banks. Typically described as ``Ireland's largest bank,'' vel sim. I suppose it would have been a mite awkward to have named the thing ``Allied Irish Bank,'' although that name is often used in practice. They should have come up with a different name altogether. Contradictory grammatical number are a nuisance.

Oh yeah, and it shares its initialism (more commonly used than the name) with Anglo Irish Bank. Brilliant.

American Institute of Baking. They offer solutions solutions solutions -- audits, education and training, research and technical.

American Institute of Banking. Courses offered online and also in classrooms around Michigan by the MBA (not that MBA) through the ABA (not that ABA). Ohnowait -- sometimes the first Google hit isn't the best. It turns out that ``The American Institute of Banking (AIB) is a national organization dedicated to offering professional continuing education and training to bankers. More than 100,000 participants enroll annually in our courses, making this service of the American Bankers Association one of the largest industry-sponsored training organizations in the world.''

``ABA Local Training Providers can be found throughout the United States and in Guam.'' What about the Upper Peninsula?

American Investment Bank, N.A. Based in Salt Lake City, member FDIC, and has pictures of smiling people on its homepage. What more do you want?

Anglo Irish Bank. (Banc Angla-Éireannach.) It's headquartered in Dublin, especially since January 2009, when it was nationalized. It shares its initialism with Allied Irish Banks.

Atlantic Insurance Brokers, L.L.C. Insures trucking, hauling, cargo, freight, and autos.

Automobile Insurers Bureau of Massachusetts.

Association des Infirmières de Bloc Opératoire d'Aquitaine. If I saw a boa, I'd go ``Aiiiii!'' too. `Association of operating-room nurses of Aquitaine.'

Association des Infirmières de Bloc Opératoire de Bretagne. Spongebob's French friend. ``Aii, my frhrhriend! Ah-lo!'' `Association of operating-room nurses of guess.' (No, not Great Britain... try again.)

AIBS, aibs
American Institute of Biological Sciences. That was something in the 1970's. Since then, the similarity in sound to AIDS must have prompted a change of name.

Hmmm -- somehow I missed their website when I first put in this entry. ``... a national center for biologists & the biological sciences ....'' `` established under federal charter in 1947 as part of the National Academy of Sciences... In 1955 AIBS became an independent, member-governed, 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization.''

Alfven Ion Cyclotron instability. A plasma instability near the ion cyclotron frequency.

Alive In Christ (Lutheran Church). Welcome to the AIC WorshipWeb!

Appraisal Institute of Canada. Institut canadien des évaluateurs. Not based in Chicago. (Cf. next entry, or this earlier one, to ``get'' this lame joke.)

The Art Institute of Chicago. A museum and a SAIC.

Since its founding, the museum has been committed to maintaining a location near the center of town, as it does today with a location on Michigan Avenue. Its exhibits are housed in three buildings that straddle a railroad track (and which are only connected at one level as a result).

The museum owns ``American Gothic,'' the instantly recognizable picture of a farmer with his pitchfork and his blonde wife (he holds the former) standing impassive and about scowling before their home, which has a Gothic-style gable window and seven walk-in closets. Some of this description, particularly the emotional state of the pitchfork, is inference or speculation. The relationships of the people in front of the house to each other and to the house itself are not what I expected. The picture was painted by Grant Wood in 1930. The couple posed before the house didn't live there. They are Grant Wood's sister Nan (playing the part not of a farmer's wife but of his unmarried daughter) and his dentist. The painting has an enigmatic ambiguity, but unlike La Giaconda, facial expression in the picture is describable.

Association of Independent Care Advisers. It ``represents organisations based in the UK dedicated to helping people identify the most appropriate type of care service and care provider for their individual needs.''

Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design. You can't imagine how thrilled I am that this is not computer-designed designing computers (Artificial Intelligence Computer-Aided Design).

Despite that, I can't help but be troubled by the notion of an association of independents. You can't be completely independent if you're part of an association. Cf. IGA.

Autonomous Intelligent Cruise Control. Is Katie up to the task?

Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies.. ``[A] national membership organization, established to promote quality and consistent delivery of credit counseling services. They have a street address on Random Hills Road.

American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.

Some balding academics with compensatory facial hair, yacking about events they can't make a dent in.

American Institute of Chemical Engineers. A member society of the AAES.

Back in 1996 or so, their homepage had irritating (<BLINK>) flashing, which I appropriately condemned at this entry. Just to show what a good great sport I am, and how I let bygones be bygones, and how I don't keep harping on every little thing and all, I praised them for their eventual decision to eliminate the blink. Don't let it happen again.

Association pour l'intégration communautaire de l'Ontario. See OACL.

The Absolutely Incredible Counting Page.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

American Institute for Cancer Research.

Association for International Cancer Research.

Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio. An affiliate of NAICU.

Agency for International Development. An independent agency of the US government.

Artificial Insemination (with) Donor. (I.e., with a third party.)

Artificial Intelligence in Design.

Amherst Industrial Development Agency. Amherst is a northern suburb of Buffalo, New York.

Automobile Information Disclosure Act of 1958. The act requires certain information to be clearly displayed on new cars offered for sale (see the Autopedia for details) and was authored by A.S. ``Mike'' Monroney, a longtime US congressman from Oklahoma. (The FAA also has a Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City.) More about the nexus of Oklahoma, car sales, and honesty (or rather its absence) at the entry for Sock it to me.

The required information must appear on a window sticker legally removable only by the purchaser. The sticker is called a ``Monroney sticker,'' but the proper noun is mispronounced or ``mispronounced'' ``Moroney'' throughout the automotive sales, uh, profession. Prophet motive rules. More at the MSRP entry.

An opera by Verdi.

Automatic Identification and Data Collection. Something that happens at the checkout counter. See also express lane, UPC.

Anti-Christ or devil. As we all know, God is to be thanked for anything good that happens. When things go wrong, someone else must be blamed.

Acquired Immune (response) Deficiency Syndrome. Here's an aerial view of the AIDS quilt.

In Japanese, this disease is called by a domesticated prounciation of the English acronym: eizu.

AIDS Dementia Complex
Dementia is the most common central nervous system (CNS) complication directly due to HIV infection (as opposed to the indirect complications that result from secondary, opportunistic infections (toxo, Crypto, PML, others) which attack the immune-compromised individual, and also as opposed to the depression that patients experience indirectly -- as a result of the lousy prognosis, not to mention lymphoma).

HIV is neurotropic, invading CNS and peripheral nervous system (PNS) beginning early in the infection. The cause of dementia appears to be at least partly the neurotoxic effect of the virus itself (neurotoxic effects have been identified in at least the gp120 virus coat protein, and in Tat -- transactivator protein from the interior of the virus). Although substantial cell loss has been identified, the main source of cognitive deficit seems to be the destruction of white matter -- the myelin coat that provides electric insulation for nerve processes. There is also evidence of a pathological contribution from toxins released by nerve cells that have been attacked.

AIDS dementia was first identified in 1983, and was initially called ``AIDS encephalopathy,'' ``AIDS encephalitis,'' or ``subacute encephalitis,'' reflecting the incorrect early hypothesis that it was caused by inflammation of the brain, possibly subacute but chronic. The latest name for it is HAD, for HIV-Associated Dementia complex. The switch from AIDS to HIV in the name reflects the understanding that it is caused in some way by the direct toxicity of the HIV virus, rather than secondary infection or by the reaction to secondary infections.

Associazione Italiana di Epidemiologia.

Huh? Je ne parle pas français. Maybe you want the IAEA entry, eh?

ARMA International Educational Foundation. Originally created in January 1973 as a tax-exempt Education and Scholarship Fund of ARMA. It was renamed and restructured in 1996-7.

Asociación International de Escritores Policiacos. Probably better known by its English name, International Association of Crime Writers. International thoughts on this can be found at the IACW entry.

I want you to know that it gives me a real feeling of accomplishment as a lexicographer, when I can put an AIEP entry tidily next to an AIEQ entry. One day, preferably during my lifetime, this page is going to be as alphabetically solid as a brick wall.

Association des Internes en Exercice des Hôpitaux de Lille. French, `Association of Interns practicing in Hospitals of Lille.' (No, it's not internists.)

Association internationale des études québécoises. I get the études thing (`studies') but the rest is pretty opaque.

Acronym Interaction, Expansion and Extrapolation Engine. A practical tool served by The Brunching Shuttlecocks, which expands any two- to six-letter acronym. I mean any. If accuracy didn't occasionally count for something, the SBF glossary would be obsolete. Whimper!

Excited vocalization.


Association Internationale d'Épigraphie Grecque et Latine. I don't know a link yet. There are American (ASGLE) and British (BES) chapters.

L'Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerce. (Pronounced ``eye-seck.'' Isn't French great?) Based in Brussels to the extent that it's based anywhere.

There's a Local Committee at UB.

L'association des infirmières françaises entérostoma-thérapeutes d'Aquitaine. `The association of French enterostomal-therapist nurses of Aquitaine.' (Of course.)

Audio Interchange File Format.

Australian Institute of Family Studies.

The American Institute of Guitar. ``Founded in 1975 ... devoted to furthering the knowledge and appreciation of the guitar and music.'' Other links at the guitar entry.

American International Group. A financial services and insurance group. Some of the financial services are a form of insurance: credit default swaps, to name an infamous example.

Arrogance, Incompetence, and Greed. Alternate expansion for the AIG that has been the American International Group.

Association of Inspectors General. A US nonprofit that ``consists of Inspectors General and professional staff in their agencies, as well as other officials responsible for inspection and oversight with respect to public, not-for-profit, and independent sector organizations.''

American Institute of Homeopathy. Homeopathy is basically hair-of-the-dog-that-bit-you therapy, except that the hair is cut down to sub-atomic dimensions (take one), and all of the cutting is done with a rusty hacksaw.

Artificial Insemination Homologous. Artificial insemination with the partner's own sperm.

American Industrial Hygiene Association. Cf. ACGIH, AIHce.

American International Health Alliance. It ``advances global health through volunteer-driven, `twinning' partnerships and other programs that mobilize communities to better address healthcare priorities, while improving productivity and quality of care.

AIHA's twinning partnerships are defined by a formal agreement held between US healthcare providers and their counterparts overseas, who work collaboratively to develop a detailed workplan that outlines their goals, specifying how they will achieve them over a period of time, primarily through the exchange of information and skills.''

AutoImmune Hemolytic Anemia. Disease in which the immune system decides to destroy your red blood cells.

American Industrial Health Council. Lobbies for the health of industry.

American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition. Co-sponsored by AIHA and ACGIH.

American Institute of the History of Pharmacy.

Association Internationale d'Histoire de la Psychanalyse. English: `International Association for the History of Psychoanalysis.'

Association Internationale pour l'Histoire du Verre. ``We are an international organisation devoted to advancing knowledge about glass - its use, history and aesthetic qualities from antiquity to present times. We hold a congress every three years and publish the papers that are given in the series Annales de l'AIHV.''

This letter sequence is unlikely to occur at the beginning of the name of a for-profit organization. Cf. AIIA, AIIM, and AIIP below.

Australian Information Industry Association.

Sound produced, say, by the open mouth of a person falling and aware of it. There are variants. It does sort of suggest the Doppler shift perceived in the (p)reference frame of someone at a fixed height above the faller.

The Association for Information and Image Management.

Association des Infirmières et Infirmiers du Nouveau-Brunswick. In English: Nurses Association of New Brunswick (NANB). You can probably guess that's New Brunswick, Canada, not New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The Association of Independent Information Professionals.

American Institute of Indian Studies.

Activities Implemented Jointly (to cut greenhouse gases). See JI.

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council.

American Indian Library Association. ``[A]n affiliate of the American Library Association, [it] is a membership action group that addresses the library-related needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives. AILA holds business meetings twice a year in conjunction with the American Library Association and publishes the American Indian Libraries Newsletter quarterly.''

Association des Infirmiers Libéraux d'Auvergne. French, `Association of Independent Nurses of Auvergne.'

Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée. `International Association for Applied Linguistics.' Founded in France in 1964. Has held an international meeting in a different country every three years since 1969. Different country from that of the preceding couple of meetings, anyway. In Spanish, Asociación Internacional de Lingüística Aplicada.

Association des interprètes en langage visuel du Canada. If you want to see one possible result of translating this from French into langage visuel and then from Visual Language into English, see AVLIC. You know, we wouldn't have all these interpretation problems if everyone would simply speak or sign (whichever is more convenient) only Italian.

Administrators in Internal Medicine. ``The national organization of business administrators in departments of internal medicine at medical schools and academic health centers.'' This AIM is part of AAIM.

Take care not to confuse this with AIM (below).

Administrators In Medicine. ``National Organization for State Medical & Osteopathic Board Executive Directors.''

Take care not to confuse this with AIM (above).

Adsorption Isotherm Measurement[s].

Alcohol In Moderation. The name of a student organization at Siene College.

Ambulatory Information Management Association. A professional organization that apparently preferred AIM. Well, you know what happens. ``For want of a nail, the shoe was lost...'' and so on. They used to have the domain <aim4.org>, but now that belongs to ``Aim 4 Health,'' a vitamin-supplement store.

American Indian Movement. The acronym is useful, because ``American Indian'' is now politically incorrect for ``Native American'' in some circles. The thing to do is use the term ``American Autochthon.'' Keep 'em off-balance.

ATM Inverse Multiplexer. Sometimes I wonder if that isn't where all the money goes.

Automatic Identification Manufacturers. A trade association for the automatic data collection (ADC) industry.

Alternative Investment Management Association, Ltd. Is that like ``alternative medicine''? Oh, here we go: ``The Global, Not-for-Profit Trade Association for Hedge Funds, Managed Futures and Managed Currency Funds.'' Founded in 1990.

Associazione Italiana Malattia di Alzheimer. `Italian Alzheimer's Disease Association.'

American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. A member society of the AAES.

Australian Institute of Medical and Biological Illustrators. For when hentai gets really graphic. No-no, just kidding.

American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers. Founded as the American Institute of Mining Engineers in 1871, by 22 mining engineers in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. A member society of the AAES.

AIME comprises five separately incorporated units: an AIME Institute Headquarters, and four Member Societies:

I'm not sure where WAAIME squeezes into the organization chart.

AIST is the one of the four Member Societies which has changed its mission the least, and it is the only one which changed its initialism (from ISS). Two other Member Societies, like the umbrella organization, have changed their names and kept their initialisms. They might have considered alternatives. Like WLU, they could have renamed themselves after somebody with appropriate initials. TMS, for example, could have renamed itself the Tom Mix Society. Not only does this avoid using the initial of the as part of the official initialism, but it's a memorable name. The best part, though, is that TMS doesn't have to change its name each time it wants to change its focus, because the name is always as appropriate as it ever was.

AIME's web presence is slightly confusing. It was a little slow off the blocks, and its earliest official presence on the web was a page hosted by TMS. They must have been ticked off to learn that the Information-Media AIME had gotten to <aime.org> first. They evidently started out using <aimeny.org> (AIME is organized as a New York State nonprofit corporation, though its offices are in Littleton, Colorado). Links from older pages (including the no-longer-updated TMS-hosted page) tend to be to the aimeny address, though now AIME itself seems to prefer the <aimehq.org> domain name. As of May 2004, URL's with aimehq and aimeny seem to be equivalent. Lessons learned: (1) buy your domain name early, (2) think through what domain name you'll be happy with in the long term, and (3) switch web locations as infrequently as possible.

Association for Information Media and Equipment ``assists producers of information film, video, interactive technologies, computer software and equipment for educational and information.''

All India Muslim League. Founded in Dacca, Bengal, in 1906, when ``India' was a British possession including present-day Burma, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the piece of Kashmir that China bit off in the 1962 Sino-Indian war. (Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka, was administered separately from India throughout the period of British rule.) Burma was split off administratively before India became independent, and when India became independent it was partitioned into an India and Pakistan (q.v.). The latter, an explicitly Muslim country, consisted of provinces in two separate clusters, to the northeast and northwest of India. In the third Indo-Pakistani war, India helped East Pakistan become independent (as Bangladesh) of West Pakistan.

In English today, I think Bengal (which Bengolis that I know pronounce ``Bengol'') generally refers to the Indian state of Bengal that is adjacent to Bangladesh, while the part of old Bengal that is in Bangladesh is simply Bangladesh. So the ``Dacca, Bengal'' where the AIML was founded in 1906 is ``Dhaka, Bangladesh'' in 2003.

The AIML became increasingly irrelevant from the founding of Pakistan on, and petered out of existence around 1958. It has no genetic or really ideological relationship to other subcontinent organizations that have included the phrase ``Muslim League'' in their name.

Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale.

Amusement Industry Manufacturers & Suppliers.

Arizona Instrument to Measure (education) Standards. Statewide in Spring 2004, about 60% of students failed the math portion and about 40% failed the reading and writing portions. A passing grade on all sections (by senior year, I suppose) is required for graduation.

Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services.

Australian Institute of Medical Scientists.

Advanced Intelligent Network.

American Institute of Nutrition. Founded in 1928. Now it's the ASNS.

Epsilon Tauri. The second eye of the bull (not the second bull's-eye). A/k/a Oculus Boreus. The name Ain is Arabic, which I don't know and which is inconvenient to read. In Hebrew, ayin means `eye.'

Assyrian International News Agency.

A in B
Automobile IN Basement.

Associazione Italiana di Neuroradiologia.

Ainu is an Ainu word meaning `human being.'

Asynchronous Input/Output.

Azerbaijan International Oil Consortium.


Ancient Greek word meaning `age' (written with an acute-accented omega). This was Latinized as aeon and borrowed into English, where it is now often spelled eon (especially in the US).


Annali dell'Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli. The most direct and literal translation of this is `Annals of the Eastern University Institute of Naples,' but the university name is never normally given this way. It just happens that Istituto Universitario is an Italian term that means `University.' (To be pedantic, it would have to be `university institute,' but the absence of an adjective form of the English word university presents a problem. The English phrase university institute is likely to be understood as an institute that is part of a university. What the Italian phrase means, casting aside any attempt at grace, is something like `university-type institute': an institute of the university type. We usually call that a university.)

Anyway, Istituto Universitario Orientale (Napoli) and closely similar names seem to have been superseded -- I would guess around the beginning of the twenty-first century. The university's domain name is <iuo.it>, but the formal name is apparently now Università degli Studi di Napoli ``l'Orientale.'' This follows a naming pattern that is not uncommon for public universities in Italy. Others on this pattern: Università degli Studi di Roma ``La Sapienza,'' and Università degli Studi di Napoli ``Parthenope.'' As you can probably guess, Università degli Studi is an Italian term meaning `University.' (Another one is Università.) Not to worry, though: the school acronym is UNO.

Incidentally, the journal AION is published in two sections, each with one issue annually. The sezione linguistica ``[a]ims to publish articles concerning history of language and ancient languages, bibliographies, reviews, evidences of disappeared languages, connections between linguistic habits and feeding habits, enumeration, anthropology and other in (`ancient') Mediterranean area.'' The sezione filologico-letteraria is ``[c]oncerned with the history of Greek and Latin literature, but also generally with the history of ancient culture in all its aspects (religion, philosophy, law, politics, poetics, rhetoric, science).''

Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. An ischemia is a local blood shortage. ``Local'' in the sense of being limited to a particular body region, organ, or tissue. It typically arises from a problem in a particular blood vessel -- vasoconstriction, thrombosis, or embolism. It can also be caused by arteritis -- inflamation of an artery. Two kinds of AION are distinguished: Arteric AION and Non-arteric AION (NAION).

Accademia Italiana di Odontoiatria Protesica. `Italian Academy of Prosthetic Dentistry.' Despite the funny name, they're welcome at meetings of other national academies of aesthetic or esthetic or cosmetic dentistry. If the P stood for ``pelvic,'' I imagine there would be greater uneasiness.

American Institute of Philanthropy. They publish a Rating Guide. In 2003, the US Supreme Court hears a case brought by the Illinois Attorney General against Telemarketing Associates, a professional phone solicitor of an AIP F-rated charity, Vietnow. Telemarketing Associates does not deny that it keeps 85% of the charitable contributions it wangles and has been doing so for years, but argues that their callers don't explicitly claim that more than a small fraction of the money is telemarketer revenue (as it is) and that (according to certain court rulings of the 1980's) the states are forbidden to regulate this cousin to usury (not their words).

American Institute of Physics. Tunnel through cyberspace to their homepage.

American Institute of Pyrotartology. Experiments have to be repeatable, you know, or it's not Science. By this measure, the SPT experiment is very scientific.

Application Infrastructure Provider. An AIP supplies application providers with all of the infrastructure and systems management necessary to deliver the services of their software.

Association of Internet Professionals. Just to prove how on the bleeding edge they are, they got the domain name <association.org>. I'm impressed.

Associazione Italiana Parkinsoniani.

ATM Interface Processor.


L'Association Internationale de Papyrologues.

American Intellectual Property Law Association.

American Institute of Public Opinion. Founded at Princeton, NJ, by George Gallup in 1935. Gallup became famous, even eponymous, in this line of work, and his organization is now known by his name. (It's listed at our list of pollsters.)

Gallup originally taught journalism at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, and then Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. This was typical of the early pollsters -- they generally didn't have backgrounds in the social sciences. In 1932 he had been hired by an NYC advertising firm to conduct marketing surveys.

In starting out on his own, Gallup got AIPO going by making a famous two-part bet with its customers, the newspapers. He would provide regular public opinion survey results on various questions leading up to the next election (1936), including a prediction of how the election would turn out. The first part of the bet was, he would refund the syndication fees paid by the newspapers if he predicted the wrong winner of the presidential election.

In retrospect, you probably think this part of the bet was pretty easy: FDR was the only president to win election four times; he was a stupendously popular president; in the midst of the Great Depression, people would favor tax-and-spend policies to pick up the economy, etc. (``Tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect'' in the original formulation of Harry Hopkins). Well no, not really. It had been four years since FDR had been elected, and the depression was worse than when he had taken office. The economy never really picked up until the US entered WWII. As FDR would say then, ``Doctor New Deal'' was fired and ``Doctor Win the War'' had taken his place.

Anyway, it wasn't all so obvious when history was being made rather than written. A popular magazine of that day, Literary Digest, ran an enormous survey with an unblemished record of predicting the winner of the presidential election. For the 1936 election, ten million postcards were sent out. With a response rate of 20%, the prediction was that Republican challenger Alfred Landon would win handily (60% of the vote). The problem was that the addresses came from automobile registration lists and telephone directories. They were a nonrepresentative sample, skewed toward those well-enough off financially to afford a car or a phone (not so common in those days). In previous elections that Literary Digest had predicted, the nonrepresentative sampling was not a big problem, because rich and poor voted similarly. Recall that in 1932, Republican President Herbert Hoover was contemplating large relief expenditures, and FDR was campaigning with a balanced-budget platform. By 1936, on the other hand, FDR did not look conservative, and those who were well off were more likely to strongly oppose his activist, essentially socialist program.

The main lesson normally drawn from LD's failure was that large biased samples are worse than small representative samples. That is certainly true as far as it goes, but there are many different sources of bias (about which more when I continue the entry).

In 1948 it was George Gallup's turn to screw up. Two weeks before the election, his polling showed Dewey strongly ahead, and he stopped polling. People changed their minds. It doesn't take two weeks either. In 1980, Carter and Reagan were close until the weekend before election day. Unpublicized tracking polls of the campaigns confirmed what the election proved: a shift to Reagan in the last two days, and a landslide Republican victory.

Astronomical Image Processing System.

Additive Increase Rate.

Airborne Imaging Radar. [NASAnese.]

AIR rifle. You know -- the Olympic sporting event! It's a sport! Just because it involves a machine doesn't mean you don't have to train and be in shape. It's a skill. Next Olympics, let's have formula-one as a demonstration sport. And bowling is waaaaaaay overdue. Let's make it a Winter sport.

All India Radio.

American Industrial Real Estate Association. An association of real estate associates and brokers, founded in 1960. It seems that over time they have shifted emphasis from specifically industrial to general commercial properties, so it now uses its old acronymic name as a fossil: ``AIR Commercial Real Estate Association.'' An affiliate of the NAR.

American Institutes for Research. A nonprofit founded in 1946, it ``is one of the largest behavioral and social science research organizations in the world. Our overriding goal is to use the best science [huh? didn't they say behavioral and social science?] available to bring the most effective ideas and approaches to enhancing everyday life. For us, making the world a better place is not wishful thinking. It is the goal that drives us.''

Annals of Improbable Research. Two ens. Cf. JIR.

Association for Institutional Research. ``Institutional Research'' (IR) specifically into the administration of post-secondary education. It's hot.

The Association of Irish Racecourses.

Australian Institute of Radiography.

The Indonesian noun meaning `water.' I, for one, think that's pretty cool. Of course, it's not pronounced the same as English air. And so naturally, it's not a homophone of English heir or ere, either. This points up one of the great flaws of Indonesian and so many other languages: phonetic spelling. When two totally different words are pronounced identically in the Indonesian language, they have to be spelled exactly the same way. This identical spelling leads to confusion. What a disaster!

Interestingly, the phrase tanah air, literally `ground water' or `land water' or something, depending on how you want to misunderstand it, means `native land' or `fatherland.'

The Indonesian word udara means `air' (substance and, so to speak, location). With a thick Indonesian accent, the English word water might sound a bit like udara, but I guess I wouldn't push the similarity. Cf. liar.

air bridge
In microelectronics, this is a structure (typically a metal interconnect) suspended above a solid surface (i.e., not lying directly on top of and in contact with it). Our more complete discussion of the air bridge is at the entry for its standard abbreviation, AB.

The American Institute for Roman Culture.

``Founded in order to promote and defend the heritage of Rome, the American Institute for Roman Culture (IRC), an American 501(c)3 non-profit organization active in Rome, is dedicated to heightening the English-speaking public's understanding and appreciation of Rome's cultural heritage through a variety of long-term educational programs, exhibits, publications, and other scholarly projects.

Whereas pre-existing programs appeal to restrictive demographics and have only a transitory presence in Rome, the IRC, deeply-rooted in the academic communities of both Rome and the United States, will appeal to, teach, and inspire a broader demographic of students, scholars, and educated laypeople. Through a dynamic, interdisciplinary approach the Institute will enable its participants to have a visible and lasting effect on Rome's cultural heritage.''

The group has a dig going at the Roman forum, led by archaeologist Darius Arya, who is also the director and a co-founder of AIRC. Darius A. Arya's father is Sirous Arya.

When the Vatican first censored the (Jewish) Talmud in Italy, and forbade the publication of at least one volume, its censor also required certain changes in the books allowed to be published. In particular, references to Rome were relocated to Persia.

Less-used acronym for American Industrial Real Estate Association (officially A.I.R.). Those who use this expansion appear to be disproportionately liable to misremember the expansion as ``American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers.''

Air Force One
A star vehicle for Harrison Ford; a movie made and released during the interwar decade. Bridging as it did the peacetime cold war with the Russians and the peacetime war with terrorists, it involves Russian terrorists who hijack Air Force One as it flies from Russia to the US.

Air Force One
The radio call sign of any US Air Force plane the US president is aboard. In common parlance it is the name of an Air Force plane specially adapted for the US president. As of 2005, there are two such planes: specially configured Boeing 747-200B's with Air Force designation VC-25A, tail numbers 28000 and 29000. (Previous presidential planes had tail numbers 27000, 26000, etc.)

The planes project a picture of presidential power, privilege, perquisites, and prestige. (No, not really -- I just say that because I like alliteration.) The well-known name has been borrowed for a movie and is the basis for various puns, including other leaders' planes and a hugely successful athletic shoe from Nike named Air Force 1 (not to mention a rap song about the shoe). Plane names punning on Air Force One include Prayer Force One (discussed somewhere in the Victoria Day entry) and Blair Force One.

air guitar
An imaginary friend of the guitar persuasion. Never needs tuning.

There's an Air Guitar World Championship held annually in Oulu, in northern Finland. (How far north? It's at the Arctic Circle.)

There are various national championships, including US Air Guitar. (On August 16, 2007, 14 regional champions and the defending national champion Hot Lixx Hulahan competed for the national championship in NYC; local favorite Andrew ``William Ocean'' Litz won. His performance closes with a spectacular backflip onto an empty beer can, but he only placed 11th at the world championship.) The world competition finalists are mostly national champions (15 in September 2007), along with some dark horses (``black horses'') who enter through a qualifying round (4 in 2007), and the reigning champion.

Ochi ``Dainoji'' Yousuke won both the 11th and 12th championships (2006 and 2007). In 2007, Dainoji received a custom-made Flying Finn electric guitar worth $3,400. For a sort of air guitar that is expensive and more substantial in se, see the discussion of silent guitars at the backboard entry.

This reminds me of pop stars like Britney Spears and Ashlee Simpson, who have largely abandoned the pretense that they're singing live rather than lip-syncing. Ashlee is mentioned s.v. Autobiography. See also As Time Goes By.

Acción Internacional por la Salud. Literally `International Action for Health.' Used as the Spanish for HAI, q.v.

Adhesive Interconnect System.

Alarm Indication Signal.

American Institute of Stress.

Turn off the sound! Turn off the sound! Exit the homepage! Ahhh.

Association for Information Systems. A new organization. Here are papers from its second annual ``Americas Conference'' (1996).

Atom Inelastic Scattering.

Australian Institute of Sport.

Automated Information System.

[Phone icon]

Automatic Intercept System. The name of an early (1960's-era) system (for all I know the name is used still) that intercepts calls to changed numbers. ``The number you have reached ....'' A web search on the key phrases turns up a bunch of old jokes.

American Institute of Service Body Manufacturers. At a guess, it seems that service bodies are the bodies of commercial trucks. The AISBM's ``purpose is to maintain an effective working relationship with the truck chassis manufacturers and to keep the truck equipment industry informed on relevant engineering matters pertaining to service bodies.'' The AISBM has been an NTEA affiliate since 1979.

American Institute of Steel Construction.

Alarm Indication Signal -- External.

American Indian Science and Engineering Society. A member society of the AAES.

``[A] national, nonprofit organization which nurtures building of community by bridging science and technology with traditional Native values. Through its educational programs, AISES provides opportunities for American Indians and Native Alaskans to pursue studies in science, engineering, and technology arenas. The trained professionals then become technologically informed leaders within the Indian community. AISES' ultimate goal is to be a catalyst for the advancement of American Indians and Native Alaskans as they seek to become self-reliant and self-determined members of society.''

The code of ethics ``prohibits the use or possession of any alcohol'' and applies inter alia ``when an individual is representing AISES in an official capacity''

American Iron and Steel Institute.

And I Swear I Am Not Making This Up. This isn't really an abbreviation in spirit. This is just an inside joke.

Alarm Indication Signal -- Line.

Acción Internacional por la Salud en Latinoamérica y el Caribe. Spanish for HAI Latin America. The expansion given at the beginning of the entry is a guess after the word Salud. I haven't seen anything on the web that expands the full ``AIS LAC.'' See LAC for a thought on that.

Apparently these NGO's are not all buddy-buddy. On Columbus Day 2004, AIS LAC proposed that WHO investigate PAHO because the influence of the US is weaker in WHO than in PAHO. (Not their precise wording.) AIS cooperates closely with WHO.

Association Internationale de Signalisation Maritime. English IALA.

Associazione Italiana di Studi Nord-Americani. `Italian Association for North American Studies.' AISNA is a constituent association of the EAAS, and the only one besides SANAS with ``North American'' in its (English) name. ``North America''! Finally Mexico will get the attention it deserves!

You know, it's going to take a long time to read this glossary straight through as you had originally planned. Why don't you jump ahead now to the ID entry?

Alarm Indication Signal -- Path.

Association Internationale de la Science du Sol. French name of the International Society of Soil Science -- IBG in German, ISSS (main entry here) in English, SICS in Spanish.

National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, part of Japan's MITI, runs eight labs in Tsukuba, and seven elsewhere.

It used to be called the ``Agency of Industrial Science and Technology.'' I recommend changing the name once again.

Association for Iron & Steel Technology. Formed in January 2004 from the merger of the Iron and Steel Society (ISS) and the Association of Iron and Steel Engineers. The ISS was and the AIST is a Member Society of AIME.

Alarm Indication Signal -- Virtual (tributary).

Assembly, Integration and Testing.

Atmospheric Interceptor Technolog{y|ies}. For ballistic missile defense.

Atomic International Time.

Automatic Identification Technology.

Oh, you mean ``L'Association internationale des transporteurs aériens -- IATA.

The name of the eighth letter of the English alphabet (``H'' and ``h''). (It was at the same position in the Latin alphabet, once the letter gee was introduced, but there is a theory that the Romans didn't count their letters starting at A.) The head term gives the standard spelling, but in some work of Noah Webster, probably The American Spelling Book, I remember that he used the alternate spelling: aytch.

The way one reads aloud the symbol representing what is sometimes called Dirac's constant or the reduced Planck's constant: Planck's constant (h) divided by two pi. When the symbol is not available, people often write ``hbar'' or ``h-bar.'' We have an entry about hbar in HTML.

Association of Indiana Teachers of Japanese. An affiliate of the NCJLT.

The Access Indiana Teaching & Learning Center.

American InterContinental University. I don't need to put a link here. If you surf the web long enough, one of their ads is bound to pop up. ``Earn an MBA in just 8 months.'' This isn't like a diploma mill, where they just sell you a degree for money. Dang! They're accredited by Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Please don't confuse this university with that other AIU. There is nothing meretricious about this school. Former Oval Officer Bill Clinton gave the commencement address at AIU's Dubai campus. He probably gave a discount off his usual fee, since AIU Online participated in a federal study.

There's also Richmond University, the ``American International University'' in London. The name reminds me of the movie An American Werewolf in London (1981). By 1997, they decided to milk this idea again -- bring it back from the dead, as it were. The remake was An American Werewolf in Paris. That in turn reminds me of The Picture of Dorian Grey.

Sir Thomas, speaking on America, says ``I have travelled all over it, in cars provided by the directors, who in such matters, are extremely civil. I assure you that it is an education to visit it.''
    ``But must we really see Chicago in order to be educated?'' asked Mr. Erskine plaintively. ``I don't feel up to the journey.''
    Sir Thomas waved his hand. ``Mr. Erskine of Treadley has the world on his shelves. We practical men like to see things, not to read about them. The Americans are an extremely interesting people. I assure you there is no nonsense about Americans.''
    ``How dreadful!'' cried Lord Henry. ``I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.''

Hmm, now where was I? Oh! That wasn't the passage! This is:

    ``Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered,'' said Mr. Erskine. ``I myself would say that it had merely been detected.''
    ``Oh! but I have seen specimens of the inhabitants,'' answered the Duchess, vaguely. ``Must confess that most of them are extremely pretty. And they dress well, too. They get all their dresses in Paris. I wish I could afford to do the same.''
    ``They say that when good Americans die they go to Paris,'' chuckled Sir Thomas, who had a large wardrobe of Humour's cast-off clothes.

I think Wilde liked that mot about Paris so much that he used it in a couple of plays (but I can't find the other instance, off-hand). Not to be gratuitously chiastic or anything, but to judge from a couple of world wars, it seems that when good Americans go to Paris, a lot of them die.

In Dik Browne's Hagar the Horrible strip of (I think) December 3, 1993, a friar warns Hagar and the stupid fellow with the funnel for a hat, ``If you don't mend your sinful ways, you will go where all sinners go.'' Enthused, they reply as one: ``Paris?!''

David Plante, epitomizing a passage of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, in which Svidrigailov commits suicide in the office of Achilles, explains: ``America is the place a Russian goes to when he commits suicide.'' [See p. 33 in his article ``Under Eastern Eyes: What America Meant to the Writers of Russia,'' article in NYTimes Book Review, pp. 3ff, Feb. 27, 1994. Plante had been a lecturer at the Gorky Literary Institute in Moscow.] I probably ought to say something here about the options finally open to Misha Karamazov.

Analog Interface Unit.

Atlantic Internetional University. ``A New Age for Distance Learning.'' Oh wait -- I misread that. It's ``International.''

``By recognizing the knowledge gained in both school and `Life Experience' settings, AIU is able to grant degrees reflective of the student's true academic status.'' Elsewhere: ``[t]he student's Academic Status defines the number of Credit Hours the University will grant towards the selected degree program.''


They have faculty!

As I Understand It.

American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine.

An Inclusive Version. An altered version, in the domestic-animal sense of ``altered,'' of the New Testament and Psalms (from the O.T.). Too bad they didn't do the book of Ruth or the story of Onan and Tamar; a neutered version of those might be interesting. Also, because ``the blind'' is so offensive, these differently abled persons are referred to in AIV by the inoffensive expression ``people who are blind.'' God save us from those blind ``people who are idiotic.'' Tell it to the ``people who are Egyptian.''

One day in high school I was in the Math Resource Center waiting to ask Miss Chew a question, and the blind student (we only had one, and I've forgotten his name) was there too. We exchanged small talk, and I thoughtlessly used some sight-related metaphor (something like ``looks that way'' for something that could as well have been ``seems that way,'' say), and he said ``I wouldn't know.'' It was a joke, okay? Blind people -- people who are blind, the blind, the quite-differently-sighted, the non-sighted -- they're rather aware of their difference. I have to add this: Frederick Douglass is reported to have said, ``Mr. Lincoln is the only white man with whom I have ever talked, or in whose presence I have ever been, who did not consciously or unconsciously betray to me that he recognized my color.''

Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst. Dutch `General Intelligence and Security Service.' Successor (the homepage says simply that it's the new name) of the charmingly-named BVD.

AIV method
Artturi Ilmari Virtanen METHOD. The only thing (not person) I can think of that is known by three initials of one person's name. Off hand, the only thing I can think of that uses two initials of one name is CBS (Charles Bonnet Syndrome), though I'm sure there are others.

The AIV method is the long-term storage of leguminous fodder in an acid medium, in order to preserve protein content. ``Long-term'' probably means the duration of a Finnish winter, which I think is almost a decade (okay, in dog years). In experiments he conducted in the 1920's, he used a dilute solution of hydrochloric and sulfuric acids, and found that this worked if kept in a narrow pH range around 4. This work won him the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1945.

Association Internationale Villes & Ports. `International Association Cities & Ports' in French. You need a preposition? Try `International Cities & Ports Association.'

Association of International Wealth Management.

Aix en Provence was the childhood home of Émile Zola and Paul Cézanne, school chums. Cézanne lived there as an adult, but Zola was a poor orphan and so was forced to go to Paris and invent the practice of aggressive book-marketing (later invented independently in the US by Carly's father, a co-founder of Simon and Schuster, who was also orphaned). From this example we see the evil that can come of a deprived childhood.

Advanced Interactive eXecutive. (Trademark IBM.) Uncannily similar to Unix. An ``Open Systems'' (vide OSF) OS. There's a USENET FAQ set archived for the web.

ArmanI Exchange. I read this on a sweater; AIX (with the I larger: AIX) on the chest and the expansion twisting around the sleeves. The wearer was even less stylish than the sweater.

Advanced Interactive eXecutive for ESA. (Trademark IBM.) AIX for IBM System/390 or or large server hardware.

Advanced Interactive eXecutive for RS-6000. (Trademark IBM.)


A.J., AJ
Antiquitates Judaicae. Latin title of a first-century work by Flavius Josephus, written in Koine (a/k/a New Testament Greek -- the international language of the eastern Mediterranean in those centuries), normally known by its Latin title or an often faux-ami modern translation of that title: `Jewish Antiquities' in English, Les antiquités juives in French, Las Antigüedades Judías in Spanish, etc. It's not about antique furniture or other collectibles. It's just a history of the Jews up to the time preceding the rebellion against Rome in which Josephus was a general.

For the first 1500 or so years after it was written, the title would have been Antiqvitates Ivdaicae. It is conventional among Latinists in North America to write the vocalic vee as a yoo, but not to convert the consonantal ``i'' into the modern letter jay.

Astronomical Journal. Founded in 1849 by B.A. Gould. Sponsored by the AAS. One of the major journals in the field. Cf. ApJ.

ISSN: 0004-6256


American Journal of Archaeology. Based in Boston. Here's a separate site specifically for the book reviews.

American Journal on Addictions. The official Journal of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry. Why did I include this entry? I couldn't stop myself.

American[s] of Japanese Ancestry.

And Justice for All. It was ``founded in mid-1995 to fight for equality for everyone without regard to sexual orientation. AJA seeks to achieve this goal by increasing the visibility and participation of heterosexuals in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights movement.''


American Journal of Ancient History. Catalogued by TOCS-IN.

Association for Japanese-Language Teaching.

Australian Journal of Biblical Archaeology.

African Jewish Congress.

American Jewish Committee. A ``secular'' organization in the sense of not being affiliated with any particular religious stream within Judaism. The AJC publishes Commentary, which under editorship of Norman Podhoretz, from 1960 or so to maybe 1995, was one of the leading neoconservative publications.

A different organization than the AJ Congress (infra).

American Jewish Congress. Not affiliated with any particular religious stream within Judaism, but it couldn't number but a few confused Orthodox in its membership. Its mission statement runs into lists and subparagraphs. About as far to the left as the AJ Committee (supra) is to the right.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (in the US). There are 28 Jesuit (SJ) colleges and universities in the US. Corresponding Latin-American organization is AUSJAL.

Association of Japanese Geographers. (If you want to do more than view their nameplate gif, you ought to come equipped with a Japanese-capable browser.)

American Jewish Historical Society. Headquartered at the Center for Jewish History in New York City. Has a research center in Waltham, Massachusetts, adjacent to the campus of Brandeis University.

Association of Jewish Libraries.

You know, things have calmed down a little bit since the Middle Ages, but there's still a lot of rivalry between religions (better that than ribaldry between the religions, I guess). In one town with a bad case of ecumenical rivalry, the Catholics got together a fund and bought their priest a Rolls Royce! When he went to pick it up, there was a big ceremony and the priest sprinkled his new car with holy water. It was very spiritual and inspiring. Envy-inspiring. I mean, coveting your neighbor's wife is out of bounds, but it doesn't say anything in there specifically about cars, now does it? No. The Jews of the town, not to be outdone, got a fund together and bought their rabbi a Rolls Royce too. He was very happy with it, but his congregants said unto him, ``the priest sprinkled holy water on his car. Aren't you gonna do anything?'' So the rabbi got a chain saw and lopped off a fender.

My cousin Victoria told me this one, and when she got to the punch line I sagged. She screamed at Pam -- ``He got it! He got it!'' It turns out not everyone gets it. Here's a hint: shortly after birth, Roman Catholics have their babies baptized with holy water. (That's shortly after their children's birth.) Eight days or so after their boys are born, Jews have them circumcised. (Just as a technical matter of fact, it's the father's responsibility to circumcise his sons, but it's universally regarded as a Very Good IdeaTM if a professional performs the operation.)

Okay, stop me if you've heard this one. It's from Sholom Aleichem's ``Fiddler on the Roof.'' The young man asks the rabbi, ``Rabbi, is it true that there's a blessing for everything?''

Yes, my son, we have a blessing for everything.

Even for the Tsar?

Yes, my son:
May the Lord bless and keep the Tsar ...
far away from us.

Technically, the fellow who performs circumcisions is a moel. He need not be a rabbi. In countries with few Jews, the moel usually holds a day job in a medical profession.

Three mothers in Florida are bragging to each other about their sons. Mother number one talks about her son the lawyer. On and on. Mother number two can't wait to go on about her son the doctor. After they've had their turns, they notice that mother number three is silent. And what does her son do? He's a rabbi. ``A rabbi!? What kind of job is that for a nice Jewish boy?''

The fellow who checks that the laws of kashrut (the dietary laws) are obeyed -- the kitchen inspector -- is called a meshgiach. Once I showed up very early for the Bar Mitzvah of a friend's son. The caterers were still unloading the reception meal from the truck. When the rabbi arrived, he greeted me and gave me a meaningful look. The meaning of the look was ``what are you doing here?'' I explained that I was early for the Bar Mitzvah, so he said ``in that case, why don't you go next door and tell them you're the food taster?'' It was a joke. I laughed and said ``I'll tell them I'm the meshgiach!'' It was a joke. He didn't laugh. It was a Reform synagogue, and later I found out that the food was ``kosher style.''

American Journal of Nursing. The official journal of the American Nursing Association. (See also the ANA's page.)

American Journal of NeuroRadiology. Published by the ASNR.

American Journal of Pathology. Published by ASIP.


American Journal of Philology. Catalogued by TOCS-IN.

American Journal of Physics. A publication of the AAPT (not the APS).

American Journal of Physiology. A publication of the APS (not this APS).

American Journal of Psychiatry. Official journal of the APA. So many AJP's -- I'm gonna go nuts!

American Journal of Psychotherapy. Founded in 1939, and was the early bird that got the <ajp.org> domain. Official journal of the Association for the Advancement of Psychotherapy, which doesn't have a separate organizational domain and seems to exist primarily to publish the AJP, and maybe to hold a conference so the proceedings can be published in the AJP. AJP is one of the core journals in its diffuse field.

American Justice Partnership. It sounds similar to ``American Justice League,'' but it's not a comic book series. It's an organization that advocates legal reform. They're particularly concerned with abuses in the civil justice system, including frivolous lawsuits, venue shopping, and inordinate compensatory damages for nonquantifiable losses. To a lot of businesspeople, I imagine that AJP must be the very picture of superheroes.

Australian Journal of Pharmacy. Interesting... You know, one rarely thinks of pharmacy as the name of an activity or abstract institution. Or as any kind of uncountable noun or !!! Oh my GOD -- it's a SWARM: AACP, AFPC, AIHP, AMCP, CAPSI... okay, enough of that. Seriously, most people are probably used to ``pharmacy'' primarily as a count noun, denoting a place of business where prescriptions are filled. The only common instance of pharmacy that might be uncountable is in the expression ``pharmacy school,'' but there the word is attributive, and it's not unusual for count nouns to be recruited as adjectives in this way (``Hamburger U,'' ``coat hanger,'' okay -- I'm working on a closer parallel). It's certainly useful to have pharmacy as an uncountable noun for, roughly, ``the profession of pharmacists,'' as distinguished from pharmacology, etc. But one wonders when this usage became common. One clue: the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education was founded in 1932 and -- certainly not prematurely -- changed its name to Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education in 2003. The ACPE Board of Directors approved the change in August of that year, and the following were given as the reasons:

American Journal of Public Health.

American Journal of Pain Management. A quarterly. The official journal of the AAPM. You should follow that link because we have a little bit of humor at that entry and, as you know, laughter is the best medicine (unless you've got a bruised rib or a broken jaw, in which case it might hurt; be careful you don't fall on the floor, either, or you might injure your ass).

American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Official journal of ATPM and ACPM. An almost-monthly (increased from 8 to 10 issues per year for 2004.)

American Journalism Review. We're waiting for a serious one.

Seriously, I've read the hardcopy version, and they haven't a clue.

American Journal of Roentgenology. Published by the ARRS.

Roentgen was the fellow who discovered X-rays, which were also called Roentgen rays.

American Journal of Surgery. According to the website, visited February 2005: ``a peer-reviewed journal designed for the general surgeon who performs abdominal, cancer, vascular, head and neck, breast, colorectal, and other forms of surgery. AJS is the official journal of five major surgical societies [consolidation -- great! -- but did they have to publish with Elsevier Science?] and publishes their official papers as well as independently submitted clinical studies, editorials, reviews, brief reports, correspondence and book reviews.'' Elsevier is pronounced like ``el severe'' in English. Each letter e stands for expensive.

Association for Jewish Studies. Founded 1969, a constituent society of the ACLS since 1985. ACLS has an overview.

American Journal of Veterinary Research. Its mission ``is to publish, in a timely manner, peer-reviewed reports of the highest-quality research that has the clear potential to enhance the health, welfare, and performance of animals and humans. The journal will maintain the highest ethical standards of scientific journalism and promote such standards among its contributors. In addition, the journal will foster global interdisciplinary cooperation in veterinary medical research.'' The AVMA also publishes the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA).

Adenylate Kinase (E.C A nucleotide phosphotransferase that catalyses the reaction MgATP + AMP --> MgADP + ADP.

Alaska. USPS abbreviation.

The Villanova [University] Center for Information Law and Policy provides some links to state government web sites for Alaska. There's a page for Alaska from USACityLink.com, and here's a (self-described) Alaska Internet Travel Guide.

Here's a 405×480 map gif mirrored from <http://wuarchive.wustl.edu/multimedia/images/gif/a/alaska.gif>.

In Fairbanks, it doesn't get dark on the Fourth of July, so they don't bother with fireworks. They do set off fireworks for New Year's. (Yes, the latitude of Fairbanks is 64° 49', so it's a couple of degrees south of the Arctic Circle. Hence, around midnight the light levels resemble those a few minutes after sunset at the equator. For more of this, see the twilight entry. Barrow is at 71° 18'.) For other US coordinates, see this page.

Alter Kakker. Yiddish in English transliteration (there are many alternative forms; Yiddish orthography itself was not standardized until 1938), `old shitter.' Even more uplifting knowledge can be found at the OF entry.

Above-Knee Amputation.

AKA, aka, a/k/a, a.k.a.
Also Known As. Typically used to introduce personal aliases. One of the abbreviations (abbrev.) that comments on itself.

American Kennel Club. ``Dedicated to Purebred Dogs and Responsible Dog Ownership Since 1884.''

AlasKa Daylight Time. GMT-8. It's the ``Daylight Saving Time'' (DST) or ``Summer Time'' for all of Alaska save some islands. (See AKST for details, at least until we get an entry for Hawaii-Aleutian Time.) AKDT in 2009 is in effect from March 8 to October 31, for a total of 238 days. So summery! They should call AKDT the ``standard time'' and redesignate AKST ``winter time.'' Hmmm... same thing for the contiguous 48.

An old (1960's) telecommunications switching system from Ericsson, long ago superseded by AXE (q.v.).

Anti-Knock Index. Alternate name for the pump octane number (PON). Apparently a more common name for fuels with AKI or PON greater than 100.

A Japanese breed of dog. The kind that belonged to Nicole Brown Simpson when she was murdered in 1994. Blood on her dog's uninjured paws led to discovery of the murder. A port of northern Honshu. There is also an Akita University homepage.

Visit here for twenty-year-old apparitions, stigmata, crying-statue stuff.

Visit here for more on the dog breed.

There wasn't much on Akitas at Dmitri Gusev's O.J. Simpson Trial Center (OJ mentioned Nicole's dog in his statement to the LAPD) and just a decade later I notice that that site is down. Oh -- it was the trial of the twentieth century. For all you unrecovered OJ junkies, this metapage is probably as good a place to continue as any. Of its 17 OJ Trial links, one is still up and has relevant information. Then again, maybe it's time to move on to other injustices. See CJ.

A rabbi martyred by Roman occupiers of Palestine after they put down the Bar Kokhba rebellion which he supported. Also written Aqiva.

AucKLanD, New Zealand.

Apogee Kick Motor. Usually a solid-propellant engine. Used in the final maneuver to transfer a satellite into a geostationary orbit (GEO, q.v.).

Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi. `Justice and Development Party' of Turkey. This translation is, as it seems, literal and word-for-word. The name the party prefers for itself is ``Ak Parti.'' (This and half-translated forms like `Ak Party' are also used internationally.) The party's preference is due to the fact that ak in Turkish means `clean' or `white.'

AKP is a moderate Islamist party led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It explicitly and firmly denies that it is Islamist, as it more-or-less must anyway since Turkish law that forbids the exploitation of religion for political ends. It describes itself as socially conservative. Be that as it may, some indeterminable part of its electoral strength is generally supposed to be due to the widespread belief that it is a moderate Islamist party.

There have been less moderate Islamist parties, and they have been popular, and they have been overthrown. The DP (Demokrat Parti) was the first not-so-secular party to contest a free election against the successors of Kemal Atatürk (see CHP). It won power in 1950 and lost it in a 1960 pro-CHP coup (which eventually saw the hanging of DP leader and PM Adnan Menderes and some of his ministers). The cycle was repeated a couple of times before the AKP was founded in 2001. The AKP won 44% of the vote in the 2002 elections, giving it an overwhelming majority in parliament.

NEBRASKA spelled backwards, with hyphens and capitalization for style. The name was created for an organization, ``The Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben'' that came together to provide family-friendly entertainment for visitors to the Nebraska State Fair in Omaha in 1895. The organization continued as an Omaha-area civic organization and is still in existence; it has a page that explains its history, so I don't have to. I asked Mary if she had heard of Ak-Sar-Ben and she said he's a terrorist.

AlasKa Standard Time. GMT-9. AKST and AKDT are used throughout the state of Alaska, except for the western-most Aleutian islands and St. Lawrence island, which are on Hawaii-Aleutian Time (GMT-10) and which do not observe Daylight-Saving Time (DST).

AlasKa State Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

Automat Kalashnikova 1947. Invented by Mikhael Timovievitch Kalashnikov around the new 7.62 bullet he received in 1943. There are about fifty million in circulation today; it's the most popular gun ever made. I suppose that might make it the most unpopular gun ever made as well. You can learn more from an article in the June 1997 issue of Esquire. According to an article by Carleton J. Phillips in the Spring 2004 VQR, a box of 7.62 mm ammo was going for more than US$2 in the Baghdad bazaars the previous December (but that may have been exaggerating the price on the high side).

An East Indian tree that grows in the Scrabble forest, where it bears two-letter fruit.

Action Learning.

The cover story of the June 2004 issue of T+D was about AL, with illustrations of a Superman character with ``AL'' in place of ``S.'' Since AL is my middle name (as in Alfred ``Al'' Cronym), naturally I was interested. Like any good business story, this article gets right to the point: it explains immediately why you the reader are interested in action learning, models exciting words about what it can do for your bottom line, produces anonymous testimonials of praise, and gives other essential information. Along about the third page, not really as an afterthought but more to dot all the tees and cross all the q's, there's a section entitled ``What is action learning?'' I quote the beginning:

Since Reg Revans first introduced action learning in the coal mines of Wales & England in the 1940s, there have been multiple variations of the concept, but all forms of action learning share the elements of real people resolving and taking real action on real problems in real time and learning while doing so.

Now let's get real here, people. Do we really need so many supporting columns? We could get a real high yield out of this seam if we knocked some of them down. Alright then, let's take some action! Right now, in real time! Good, I think we've really lear-- Oh-no-look-OUT! Gee, it's a real shame those were real miners.


Ägypten und Levante : Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Archäologie und deren Nachbargebiete. Herausgegeben vom Österreichischen Archäologischen Institut / Abteilung Kairo und der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften; Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien, 1990-.

German, `Egypt and the Levant : Journal for the Archaeology of Egypt and Neighboring Regions.' Edited by the Austrian Archaeological Institute, Cairo Section, and by the Austrian Academy of Sciences; a publication of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna.

Articles in German or English (roughly in equal numbers).

(Domain name code for) Albania. Ariadne, ``The European and Mediterranean link resource for Research, Science and Culture,'' has a page of national links. They don't seem to have any links up from the country itself right now. If Albania hadn't been in the news lately, this alone would be a useful clue.

Rec.Travel offers some links. I offer the following advice: visit someplace else for now.

Postal code abbreviation for ALabama (not ALaska, which is AK). The traditional abbreviation is Ala.; the colloquial short form is 'Bama.

The Grateful Dead song ``Alabama Getaway'' begins

Thirty-two teeth in a jawbone; Alabama trying for none.
Before I have to hit him, I hope he's got the sense to run.

The Villanova University Law School provides some links to state government web sites for Alabama. USACityLink.com has a page for Alabama.

A Canadian carpetbagger named Neil Young dissed the state in his songs ``Southern Man'' and ``Alabama.'' Lynyrd Skynyrd gallantly rose to her defense in a palinode called ``Sweet Home Alabama'' (their first big hit). Alabama is not host to a Harvard of the South, but that entry is relevant nevertheless.

In the song titled ``Alabama,'' Young sang ``You've got the rest of the union -- to help you along!'' According to Robert Hunter and the late Jerry Garcia, ``Forty-nine sister states all had Alabama in their eyes.''

(Montreal) ALouette. A member of the CFL team. ``Als'' is used for the team name.

DB Alphonso Roundtree, receiver Alphonso Browning, and Alan Wetmore are all former-Al Als (and former Als Als). Any time after Wetmore receives the Gatorade treatment, journalists can deploy the ``former-Al Al Wetmore All Wet No More'' headline. Use two-inch type.

Chemical symbol for aluminum. Atomic number 13. A lightweight metal and a p-dopant in silicon semiconductor. Kind of an oddball non-transition metal, sitting at a literal corner of the periodic table. In Britain, aluminum is called aluminium (see entry for some of the sordid details). Learn less (less is more) at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Aluminum is the only chemical whose symbol is also the correct spelling of a common English name. In fact, the only one whose symbol is the correct spelling of my name.

The Aluminum Association is online.

According to the IMDb bio of the late Tony Randall, the actor ``[s]tudied voice for 32 years but did not act on it, quipping `I have a nice healthy tone, but it's not terribly musical. If beautiful voices are golden, mine is aluminum.' ''

In 1991, Fleur Adcock published a volume with the title TIME-ZONES, subtitled Causes. It had a poem called ``Aluminum,'' and since it's only 24 lines long I can hardly excerpt a small, ``fair-use'' portion of it. Oh well, here goes: it ends ``warning you of dementia to come.'' It's about aluminum-containing water-sterilization tablets and the unenlightened Water Board and how aluminum is going to get you one way or another. Unlike some better poems, it doesn't contain a detailed quantitative analysis, though it is informed by real research. Research had suggested that aluminum was a or the main cause of Alzheimer's disease. The most readily understood reason is that both terms begin with the letter A followed by the letter L, though this angle was not pursued by medical researchers. The most direct evidence for a connection was the reported discovery of aluminosilicates in neuritic plaque cores. (Core-containing neuritic plaques are extracellular bits of crud found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease (AD). The plaques range up to 200 microns in diameter and typically consist of an amyloid core, whatever that is, surrounded by abnormal neurites, whatever they are. So now you know.) Anyway, since at least 1976, various researchers had reported aluminum and silicon in the cores. But poetry is a fast-moving field, and you have to keep up with the literature. The original research was based on techniques that we wouldn't call very sensitive today -- able to detect aluminum at 100 to 1000 ppm. At least as early as 1986, however, much more sensitive techniques (1 ppm) failed to detect any aluminum.

It is not known why, in composing his poem, Adcock ignored the contrary findings that had already been published, particularly the laser microprobe mass analysis of A.J. Stern, D.P. Perl, D. Munoz-Garcia, P.F. Good, C. Abraham, and D.J. Selkoe, Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, vol. 45, #3, p. 361 (May 1986). If he could have had the luxury of doing so, I'm sure the poet would have waited for more definitive findings, but you know how it is in poetry: ``publish and perish.'' In fact, just one year after Fleur Adcock's poem was published, the problem was convincingly resolved by J.P. Landsberg, B. McDonald, and F. Watt, of Oxford University [``Absence of aluminum in neuritic plaque cores in Alzheimer's disease,'' in Nature vol. 360, #6399, pp. 65-68 (Nov. 5, 1992)]. Using multiple simultaneous nuclear-microscopic analytic probes (PIXE, RBS, and STIM), they studied stained and unstained samples (about 100 of each) of temporal-cortex and hippocampus tissue taken from seven AD cases and two controls.

The stained samples contained a little bit of aluminum (in 30% of all background scans, and in 8% of the plaque cores -- the latter in the AD samples only, of course). The unstained samples had no aluminum in any plaque cores. Hmmm. They studied the staining reagents, which are needed in the kinds of studies that had originally found aluminum in the plaque cores, and discovered that the reagents contained aluminum and silicon, apparently from airborne-dust contamination. (There was also some aluminum in the pioloform film supporting the tissue samples, and this apparently led to the detection of aluminum in 5-10% of the background scans.)

To be fair, the balance of research indicates that aluminum probably does play some role in AD, but so, to a similar extent, do iron, zinc, and copper. All create an oxidative environment and all are dysregulated or found in elevated quantities in some AD brain tissue. So don't bother to throw away your aluminum pots and pans, unless you're planning the same for the rest of your pots and pans. In conclusion, if this little object lesson convinces even one poet not to write an under-researched didactic poem, the entry will have been worthwhile. Of course, if you are not a poet, then the entry has been a complete waste of your time.

American League. One of the two component leagues of North American Major League Baseball (MLB). The one that uses the designated hitter.


Anno Lucis. Latin, `[in the] year of light.' That is, in the year ... since the Lord commanded there to be light. Reputed to be a preferred Masonic usage for the more common A.M. (q.v.).

Anthropological Linguistics. A journal.

A & L
Arts and Letters. Humanities. Visit Arts and Letters Daily.

According to the Princeton Campus Plan distributed in January 2008, over the subsequent decade the Princeton University campus will come to be organized into ``neighborhoods.'' Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLP and the university asministration have tried to make these neighborhoods somehow coherent or logical. Thus, there are a ``Core Campus,'' a ``Natural Sciences Neighborhood,'' an ``Ivy Lane and Western Way Neighborhood'' with various athletic fields, etc. (Looking over the map, I'm surprised to realize that along with the emotional scars and the bald pate, the place also left me with some fondish memories.)

There is also to be something called the ``Arts and Transit Neighborhood'' in the area currently dominated by McCarter Theatre and the NJ Transit Dinky terminus. (The Dinky is a small train that runs on a spur connecting the university with Princeton Junction -- on the line connecting New York and Trenton.) This paragraph is just a preview. I'll put in an entry for ``A & T'' as soon as I see that in use. Maybe sooner.

Nickname for Alan and related names, Alex and Alexander, Albert and Alfred.

Alabama website? Brought to us by Einet, er, TradeWave. See AL entry above.

ALA, Ala, ala
ALAnine. An amino acid. The dominant ingredient in spider silk. For an image (of the amino acid) and more go here.

Alpha Linolenic Acid.

American Laminators Association.

American Laryngological Association. Founded in 1878. (Not long after the invention of the larynx, if I'm not mistaken.)

American Library Association. Preeminent organization for librarians and libraries in the US. Their toll-free number is 800-545-2433.

A saying among reference librarians is that ``patrons know what they want, but they don't know what they need.'' If adopted too rigidly, this could lead to interesting situations.

Met Jan. 9-15, 1998 in New Orleans, La., and June 25 - July 2 in Washington, DC.

The ALA publishes an ALA Bulletin and an ALA Washington News. Cf. CLA.

American Lung Association.

Association for Laboratory Automation.

Australian Literary Agents' Association. Founded in 2002, and they really ought to get a web-presence. (I can't find one at the beginning of 2005.) See the AAR entry for more. Modeled on the AAR and AAA. Like the latter, it only accepts as members agents that have been in the business at least three years.

Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium.

Academic Librarians Assisting the Disabled. A subgroup of the ALA's OLOS.

Asociación Latinoamericana de Diabetes. Founded in 1970 in Buenos Aires.

Aladdin Systems makes Stuffit and other Macintosh compression software.

Asociación Latinoamericana de Integración.

Spanish, `cottonwood [tree].'

African-American, Latino, Asian and Native American.

Alana Miles
Misspelling of Alannah Myles.

But you know, if you cock your head right, Alana looks like Latin (I mean very, very early Italian, not, like, South American). Then the genitive singular form would be Alanis. There's another well-known female Canadian rock singer with the initials A.M. and the first name Alanis: Alanis Morissette. When she was getting started, Morissette used the single name Alanis to avoid people confusing her with Myles. Oh yeah, that makes sense. Other female rocker singers with initials A.M. are listed at this site. Gee, I hope they keep this important information resource up-to-date and complete.

I wouldn't have bothered to spin out this tenuous connection except that The Brunching Shuttlecocks, a very valuable information resource, serves a Alanis Morissette morose lyric generator.

Alan Keyes
A former ambassador and an unsuccessful candidate for the 1996 and 2000 Republican Presidential nominations. Not to be confused with homonym Allen keys. Joined the US State department in 1978, a protege of UN ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick in the Reagan administration. Resigned from State in 1987 after disagreement on UN funding. (In the GOP, to resign in protest is not considered noble; it's considered a sign of not being a team player. To resign a short but decent interval after a disagreement is the party's equivalent.)

In 1988 and 1992 he suffered lopsided losses against popular Democrat incumbents in runs for US Senate (to represent Maryland). I'm not going to claim that Keyes is more in sync with Maryland's electorate than Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), but a certain senator can apparently lower the average IQ of any room she wanders into. One would think that the absence of any necessary correlation between intelligence and political success is obvious to all, but apparently it is not so obvious to the successful politicians. During his one term as president, George Bush was in the habit of asking rhetorically ``if you're so smart, how come I'm president?'' as if some contradiction were implicit.

In a February 2000 Nightline, Ted Koppel interviewed campaign directors of some retired politicians. They included Michael Deaver, who directed Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign. Reagan was being dogged by the press for his claim that trees were a major source of air pollution, and his campaign was trying to get some other issue (any other issue) into public consciousness. They repeatedly coached and importuned their candidate to give his foreign policy speech and then walk past the rope line holding back the press without answering any questions. Sure enough, after the speech Reagan walked up to the press horde and answered the inevitable polluting-tree question, obliterating the TV-newsworthiness of his speech. Afterwards, Deaver was despondent and reminded Reagan of all they had gone over about avoiding the press trap, and Reagan asked ``if you're so smart, how come you're not running for president?'' Deaver found this disarming. (In his hagiography of Reagan, Deaver returns to the sulfur-dioxide-emitting-tree episode and tries to spin it as positively as he can, claiming Reagan always knew better but just got maneuvered into misstatement in a debate.)

There was from time to time a movement within his campaigns to ``let Reagan be Reagan.'' After Reagan looked frighteningly senile in his first debate with Mondale (campaign of 1984), Nancy became assertive in this insistence and was given enormous credit for turning the campaign around. (The key incident was showing the patience to allow Reagan to remember an old movie gag about youth and experience that he used in the second debate with Mondale.)

I still have stuff to say about the putative subject of this entry. After the 1992 loss to Mikulski, Keyes started up a conservative talk show, ``America's Wake-Up Call: The Alan Keyes Show,'' syndicated nationally. In news shorthand he is usually described as a former US ambassador, but that is incorrect. Ambassadorships are plums the president grants to campaign supporters. Keyes was in the civil service and held lower-visibility responsible positions -- consular official in Bombay (1979-1980), desk officer Zimbabwe (1980-1), US representative to the miserable UNESCO and various stateside positions.

Alannah Myles
The female Rod Stewart. Had a hit with ``Black Velvet.''

A support group for the families of alcoholics.

Alan Smithee
A standard pseudonym used by movie directors unwilling to admit responsibility.

Okay, technically, the Directors Guild of America (DGA) allows a director to use a pseudonym only if the producers made changes contrary to the director's artistic intent. In practice, though, this might not be that difficult to arrange. The real problem is that directing a movie is not exactly a reclusive activity, so the pseudonym offers little protection at best, and raises suspicion of motives at worst.

In 1997, a rather poor movie called An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn took as premise that a director whose name is already Alan Smithee has no escape. Quite ironically, Arthur Hiller, who directed AASF:BHB, disagreed with writer/producer Joe Eszterhas and received DGA approval to remove his name from the credits, so in principle this was an Alan Smithee Film: "An Alan Smithee Film: `Burn Hollywood Burn'." (To get an idea of how this film was assembled, see how the soundtrack was put together.)

To summarize the situation:
The film-within-a-film was "Burn Hollywood Burn," directed by the fictional character "Alan Smithee" (played by actor Eric Idle). The film about the film-within-a-film was "An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn" and was in fact directed by Arthur Hiller, whose producer-sabotaged work was allowed to be credited to "Alan Smithee," a pseudonym.

Leonard Maltin rated this movie a BOMB. ``BOMB'' is not some cutesy acronym here. It's the word bomb, written in capital letters for emphasis. It's Maltin's lowest rating. His seven ratings range from four stars down to one-and-a-half stars, in steps of half a star, followed by BOMB.

For writers (movie writers, ça va sans dire) the rules work differently (see WGA).

Another sort of anonymity in movies occurs in a story I vaguely remember about the writer Graham Greene. Some actress friends apparently wangled him a bit part on a movie they were acting in, without revealing his true identity to the director, who they knew had never met Greene in person. From IMDb I guess this must be Truffaut's Day for Night (La Nuit américaine, 1973), where he plays an English insurance broker. Greene's full name was Henry Graham Greene, and he is credited here as Henry Graham.

Nick Lowe mentioned on the Classics list a somewhat similar incident involving Richard Stanley, the writer and original director of the dismal John Frankenheimer remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau. After predictable tussles with star Val Kilmer [who has a track record of making enemies], Stanley was sacked on the third day of shooting, whereupon he promptly sneaked back on to the set in a spare ape-monster suit and remained there, with the full knowledge of many of the cast (but not Frankenheimer), for the rest of the shoot.

American Lung Association of PennsylvaniA.

Australian Ladies' Amateur Radio Association (Inc.).

As Low As Reasonably Achievable. Sounds like a formula many could agree with, so long as everyone could define ``reasonably'' as he wished.


Alara Kalama
The first great teacher of the Buddha.

As Low As Reasonably { Practical | Practicable }. British variant of ALARA. ALARP is more common than ALARA in Britain, and would therefore be the presumptive preference in Europe and the Commonwealth, but India ought to be an exception, because practical there is generally taken in an economic sense only.

Aluminum Arsenide. An indirect-gap III-V semiconductor (2.16 eV), whose lattice constant of 5.661 Å is very close to that of the direct-gap GaAs.

Alaska Lines And Stories Kept Alive. A small press. They published at least one book in 1997, and they were listed in the 2000-2001 R.R. Bowker Publishers, Distributors, & Wholesalers of the United States. Maybe they should have focused on keeping the publishing house alive.

ALanine AminoTransferase.

Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician.

Alabama Athletic Trainers' Association. Evidently a trade organization for jock-strap manufacturers. Oh wait-- that's ``athletic supporters!'' Eh, whatevah.

Abraham Lincoln {Brigade|Battalion}. ``Abraham Lincoln Brigade'' refers to organized US volunteers in the Spanish Civil War. It's useful that ``brigade'' here represents an error, because it allows one to use that term in a loose, inclusive sense, and to reserve ``Abraham Lincoln Battalion'' for the military unit organized as part of the International Brigades at the end of 1936. They were decimated within a month of being put into action in February, and later supplemented by the newly trained George Washington Battalion (both were part of the XV International Brigade). Later in 1937 the two were merged into the Lincoln-Washington Battalion, which also was eventually decimated. Only 120 of the original 500 Americans survived the first sixteen months.

There are or were, broadly, two views of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade volunteers: one is that they were anti-fascist fighters for democracy, the other that they were supporters of the Communist side. During the Spanish Civil War they could be both, but after the Hitler-Stalin pact the veterans could be at most one. The American government's view was always that one couldn't be sure.

A physics professor I know at the University of Buffalo remembers once being surprised by a question about the Abraham Lincoln Brigade on a security-clearance form -- in the are-you-now-or-have-you-ever-been-a-member-of section. He hadn't known that the Lincoln Brigade was a Popular-Front-ish organization. The Encyclopedia USA entry explains: ``Although it was established and recruited by Communists, used for propaganda purposes, and largely supplied with Russian arms, by no means were all its members Communists.'' (It might have been more straightforward to note that in addition to committed Communists, the ALB attracted various other Republic supporters, including Wobblies, anarchists, and socialists. No doubt there were a few mere adventurers as well.)

The bit about ``Russian arms'' is unfair: because of official (Anglo-French, League of Nations) and unofficial (US) embargoes, the main source of arms available to the Republican side was Russia, and the arms were not donated. Germany and Italy contributed substantially, and substantially more than the Republicans were able to buy, to the Nationalist side. Italy and Russia, incidentally, adhered officially to the arms embargo.

I haven't seen much speculation regarding why the Abraham Lincoln Battalion came to be better known as a ``brigade,'' so I'll hazard a guess. In Spanish, most adjectives follow the nouns they modify, as do names functioning attributively. Hence, the wording on the battalion flag at right: [Image of flag: 3 lines of white text on a dark blue field.]

1er. Batallón Americano

While the Americans who fought there doubtless understood the order of battle sufficiently, they were few and many of them died. (Ultimately, it is estimated that 2,800 Americans served in the International Brigades and 900 were killed.) Back home, many Americans' knowledge of the forces involved may have been informed by this flag and similar untranslated materials, and many must have inferred therefrom that ``Abraham Lincoln Brigada'' was the unit name. The capitalization also tends to guide the eye.

Asian Longhorned Beetle. It's about three centimeters long, black with white dots on the body, and has curved antennae that are longer than its body. It's spreading in North America, which it is assumed to have reached by way of a cargo ship from China. The insects are getting in on globalization too. It feeds on at least 11 North American tree species, but if you like maple syrup, this bug is a personal enemy of yours.


Whiteness: the fraction of incident electromagnetic (``light'') radiation reflected by a surface or body. From the Latin albus, `white.' Exactly complementary to absorptivity, which is the measure of the blackness of a body: a ``black body'' absorbs all incident light (albedo = 0; absorptivity = 1). A ``white body'' has an albedo of unity or 100% (absorptivity = 0). A white body that reflects specularly is a mirror. A ``grey body'' body has albedo intermediate between 0 and 1. The term ``colored body'' is used to emphasize that there is a frequency dependence in the albedo, but the term ``grey body'' is sometimes nevertheless used for colored bodies simply to indicate that the important fact is that the albedo is intermediate.

The term albedo is most often encountered in connection with celestial objects and artificial satellites. The terms absorptivity or reflectivity (same as albedo) are more often used to describe surfaces.

Objects in a vacuum do not experience convective or conductive heating, more-or-less by definition, so their energy balance is determined completely by radiation and material transfer (ejection, vaporization, accretion, etc.). In the case of planets, material transfer is negligible, and we can determine the average surface temperature of a planet from radiation balances. By a simple thermodynamic argument, Kirchoff demonstrated that light reflectivity equals absorptivity. This seems to imply that a change in albedo, and hence the rate of light absorption, is accompanied by a proportionate change in thermal emission. As a result, albedo does not seem to affect the equilibrium temperature. However, it has to be understood that absorptivity/emissivity is a function of light frequency. The effective light absorptivity is an average of the frequency-dependent light absorptivity, weighted by the frequency distribution of the incident light. The effective emissivity is a different average of the same frequency-dependent absorptivity (the same as the frequency-dependent emissivity). The weighting that determines the effective emissivity is the black-body spectrum corresponding to the temperature of the emitting surface.

For any planet in our solar system, the dominant source of incident light is the sun, whose frequency spectrum is, to a good approximation, a black-body spectrum of temperature 5730 K. The sun heats the planets, so all planets are colder than 5730 K.

[You can accept that heat flow is from hot to cold, or you can prove it by combining the second law of thermodynamics with the definition of temperature -- 1/T is the partial derivative of entropy with respect to energy.]

[When I have some time, I'll explain the greenhouse effect here.]

Strictly speaking, the 5730 K bound mentioned earlier applies to a certain average of the surface temperature. Nothing prevents a planet from having hot spots that are hotter. Many chemical reactions can easily reach these temperatures --- it's a matter of properly confining the heat generated in an exothermic reaction. The larger hot spots that can be observed by interplanetary probes, on the other hand, are plasmas arising from atmospheric or planetary electrical and magnetic phenomena. A spectacular one was found by the Voyager missions in 1979: a sulfur-rich plasma near Jupiter's moon Io with a temperature around 100,000 K. It was not present when Pioneer 10 flew by in 1973. Smaller local plasmas associated with lightning can be even more impressively hot on shorter time and length scales. Data from the late Galileo satellite orbiting Jupiter, including images of eruption in progress, indicated that Io is the most volcanically active place in the solar system. (The surface layer (photosphere) of the sun is in more violent convulsions than the surface of any of its satellites. However, though the definitions of terms like volcanism and volcanic have been extended to cover the convulsive phenomena on Io, they are not widely used for solar activity.)

If they are small and isolated enough, hot spots don't have to be temporary either. The two most interesting planets in this respect are Earth and Jupiter. Jupiter, the largest gas giant, consists primarily of hydrogen and helium (in a ratio of about 8:1), with traces of other elements and deuterium. The pressure at its core is high enough to drive significant fusion; the core temperature is perhaps 30,000 K, and Jupiter emits about twice as much energy as it receives from the sun. Here's a good link for further information.

Earth was formed by the gravitational instability of cold dust and larger particles -- collisions tended to convert mutual gravitational energy into vibrational (i.e., thermal) energy, until one large warm condensed object resulted. Further heating was caused by compression (isentropic compression is not isothermal) and radioactive decay. In the hot molten object that resulted, the denser compounds and elements, including uranium, sank and concentrated toward the center. Even as the earth cooled by thermal radiation, the highly radioactive core has continued to generate heat, so the earth radiates slightly more heat than it absorbs from the sun and the average temperature increases with increasing depth. The temperature of the inner core is around 7000 K. This page has further interesting information. (Since Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, its age about equals one half-life of 238U.

The core heating of the earth gives rise to volcanism and plate tectonic activity. Venus, the planet most closely resembling Earth in mass (Venus's mass is 0.81 Earth's mass) and composition (surface rocks resemble basalt), also appears to have significant radioactive heat generation, as demonstrated by the presence of shield volcanoes. The relative absence of craters on their surfaces indicates that Venus is still geologically active, but there is no evidence of plate tectonic motion.

The other planets, which have no significant internal heat sources, have core temperatures about equal to their average surface temperatures. They'd be exactly equal, but the instantaneous average of the surface temperature varies over time, due to effects such as orbit eccentricity, solar variability, radiation from and eclipse by other objects, and rotation of the planet's nonuniform surface. The core temperature tracks the surface variation slowly, so at any given moment it is not precisely equal to the surface temperature. A long-term average of the temperatures of the planetary core and surface should be very close.

Heat can also be generated by friction dissipating tidal forces. This seems to be the case with Io, the moon closest to Jupiter. However, like Earth's moon, Jupiter's nearest moon Io is tidally locked: its rotation period equals its revolution period, so the same hemisphere faces its planet at all times. As a result, the direct tidal interaction with Jupiter no longer heats Io. However, other moons exert tidal forces as Io goes past them, and this is believed to be the source of heat that explains the spectacular volcanoes observed there recently.

This is a semantically marked word for England or Great Britain, a name one might regard as archaic, romantic, or poetic. The origin of the name is uncertain, although the alb- root (indicating `white' in Latin) has been interpreted to mean that the word refers to the white cliffs of Dover. Of course, this sort of reasoning can easily be off the mark. Pizza Alba, for example, is a white pizza (it's made without tomato). It is widely supposed that the name is thus descriptive, but in fact, the name is something of a coincidence. What happened was that a princess of northern Italy had heard about the southern Italian peasant pie called pizza, and was interested in trying it. In her day, tomato was not eaten in Northern Italy, and probably not easily available there either. (Further information at the ID entry.) The cook did not risk offending her palate, and concocted the now famous pizza for la Principessa Alba. In this case, of course, Alba does in fact mean `white,' at least in origin. More deceptive, if you're thinking Romance etymology rather than Germanic, is a name like Alberto, from Germanic roots meaning `all' and `bright.'

There's an Albion College in Albion, Michigan. According to the President's message,

``Life is a series of connections. Most of them are random and disjointed. At Albion, the connections are intentional and coherent: for that is the essence of Albion College.

Wow. I think we'll aspire to that and achieve it in this glossary.


Automatic (telecommunications) Line Build-Out.

Automatic Level Control. A feedback loop that maintains output power in a specified range, or near a specified value, under variable conditions (such as weakening battery voltage, say). Used in portable phones and modems, for instance.

Association de Lutte Contre l'Ambrosia. A Quebec `Association for the Fight Against Ragweed.'

Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, and Education. Advocating, supporting, and educating lung cancer, or something like that.

Air-Launched Cruise Missile. Cf. SLCM.

This is the official name of a company that once was called Aluminum (Al) Corporation of America. That company was the first customer of the AC power supplied by Westinghouse from Niagara Falls in the early 1900's. Buffalo quickly came to have the largest chemical production of any city in the world.

Remember, you can't spell alcohol without coho. I think that with a little work and some seawater lemmas, that could be used to prove the the salmon part of the white wine conjecture.

Adjacent-Channel Leakage (power) Ratio.

American League (AL) Championship Series. Used to be best-of-five, now seven. Just like the NLCS, but with a designated hitter (no more at the LCS entry).

American Library Color Slide Co., Inc. ``[T]he world's largest commercial source of art-related color slides.'' ``[A] source of color slides for the study of Art, Architecture, Photography, World Cultures, Minority Studies [Democrats in Congress?], Religion, Languages [speaking in tongues known and unknown], the Social Sciences and Humanities.''

Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society. According to their META DESCRIPTION: ``the British collecting society for all writers. The principal purpose of ALCS is to ensure that hard-to-collect revenues due to authors are efficiently collected and distributed.''

It must be said that historically (and maybe one of ALCS's pages says it), one of the principal difficulties that published authors have encountered in collecting royalties has been the traditionally obscure sales and royalties statement from the publisher. It's one of the reasons for having an agent (see AAA).

ALCS has a ``Where Are They Now?'' list of a few dozen unregistered authors for whom (or for whose estates) they are holding royalties that they can't deliver, either because they can't locate or haven't had a response from them.

Association for Library Collections and Technical Services. A division of the ALA. That's collections of books, as explained in the ICLC entry, not collections of fines or contributions or other moneys, as in the preceding entry.

Academy of Laser Dentistry.

AdrenoLeukoDystrophy. The diagnosis of Lorenzo Odone, whose story was dramatized in the 1992 movie Lorenzo's Oil.

Atomic Layer Deposition. Also the International Conference on Atomic Layer Deposition. ALD 2013 took place on July 28-31 in San Diego, California.

ALabama Dental Association. Famously, Alan Alda played a ``Hawkeye'' on TV's M*A*S*H. A surprising number of reader of this glossary have written to ask ``so what?'' Well, Alabama is not the Hawkeye State. It's the Yellowhammer State. (The Yellowhammer is the Alabama state bird.) I might mention that birds don't have teeth, even though they're descended from animals that do, but I better not or you'll think that that's why I mentioned the M*A*S*H connection, such as it is.

Association of Late-Deafened Adults. The hyphen is pretty important: there is little we can do to help the late, lamented deafened adults. The distinction between those born deaf and those who lose their hearing after birth is also important. Even those who lose their hearing in the first year have a tremendous advantage over the born-deaf in learning ordinary language. ALDA is not concerned with this distinction, but serves adults who grew up hearing (LDA's), and who may never even have met another deaf person.

Adaptive Lossless Data Compression.

ALcohol DEHYDrogenatE[d]. From the synthesis -- a primary alcohol (an alcohol with the OH on a primary, i.e. an end, carbon) that loses hydrogens becomes an aldehyde:
          H                 H
          |                  \
	R-C-H        -->      C=O    +    H
          |                  /             2
          O-H               R
        alcohol            aldehyde      molecular
When the group R is hydrogen (H), RCHO (i.e. CH2O or HCHO) is formaldehyde (traditional name) or methanal. For R a methyl group, RCHO (i.e. CH3CH2O) is ethanal, etc.

If the dehydrogenation takes place on a secondary carbon, the product is called a ketone.

Animal Legal Defense Fund.

American League (AL) Division Series. Just like the NLDS (q.v.), but with a designated hitter.

In current usage: beer, but with only three letters. In principle, and historically, the term designates a malt beverage with more of everything except water. More hops, so more bitter, more grain, so darker and heavier, and with more time: more alcohol. It is a federal crime to remove the punctuation from the preceding sentence. If you do you'll be put away in the same dungeon with the cretins who tear materials labels off of pillows. Cf. beer, alewife.

Application Logic Element.

Atlanta Linux Enthusiasts.

Atomic Layer Epitaxy. MBE or MOCVD performed by alternating successive exposures to anionic and cationic vapors, so that growth is slow and layer thickness is very tightly controlled.

American Legislative Exchange Council. Politically conservative.

A maker of fine string instruments, particularly basses and guitars made with slightly exotic types of wood.

Home of the original Hippie Sandwich ™

Also the name of a series of books on the history of chemistry, for some reason. And something else too.

Alembic, The
The Alembic is one of those small literary magazines that publishes works so good that they can't be sold and won't be published anywhere else. As the submission instructions say, ``[m]anuscripts known to be under consideration elsewhere will be returned to the authors unread.'' This seems to me to entail epistemological or operationalization difficulties. Another problem is the information that ``no manuscripts or artwork can be returned, nor any query answered, unless accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.'' I'm tempted to mail a manuscript (without SASE) with a note saying it's under consideration elsewhere, just to see what happens. In my dreams, they thrash in an endless loop of bad logic until smoke rises from the English Department of Providence College. (Providence College is in Providence, Rhode Island. In Rhode Island, practically everything is.)

The cover bears the title

The Alembic       
<Season> <yyyy>       

You could be forgiven for assuming that it's a quarterly publication, but the value of <Season> is always "Spring" -- it's an annual publication.

The contents are, in order, Poetry, Fiction, Art, and Translations. The poetry is sincere, and I'm sure its authors were moved by their inspirations.

Angle Lap Edge Profilometry. A way to determine the depth and thickness of a buried amorphous layer (of Si): an edge within the area that contains the buried layer is beveled, and the beveled edge is etched with a chemical etchant that etches amorphous material faster. The amorphous region then appears as a depression. With a shallow bevel, the depressed region is easier to locate and measure than a depressed region etched into a butt edge.

Advanced-level exams. College entrance exams used in England and Wales, taken at the end of the (two-year) sixth form. If British A-levels are like American SAT's, then American PSAT's correspond roughly to British AS-levels. (But they have their own ``SAT's.'') Further information at the GCSE and QCA entries. A-level ``exams'' include summer grading of some coursework completed during the school year.

In 2002, in another of a sequence of frequent changes, the A-levels were computed for the first time using a combination of the AS-levels and a set of exams called the A2's. Using the longer baseline ought to have made results more predictable, but it apparently didn't. In an effort to maintain year-on-year consistency in pass rates, the grading was apparently very ham-handedly rigged. More on that at the QCA entry.

A North American fish, Alosa pseudoherengus, that resembles a small shad. In fact, because any fish of the Alosa genus is a shad, it resembles what it is. So there: proof that sometimes, at least, a thing is like itself. And you can be beside yourself with rage. Well, like gathers unto like. Tell me who you walk with, and I'll tell you who you are.

As you can guess from the Latin species name, the alewife also resembles herring. It's a small silvery fish, and it used to be an ocean fish, but in 1873 it was detected in the Great Lakes. It's adapted to fresh water, but it's not completely adapted to warm temperatures. When it gets warm too fast in Spring, the previous autumn's generation of alewives succumbs in large numbers. Thus, in some years, around May, the shore will be covered with a band of three- to five-inch fish from the die-off.

Alexander Mac
An obscure but rigorous law of sociology requires that until 1891, the Canadian Prime Minister have a name that contains Alexander Mac as a substring. If this exact principle of electoral dynamics had been discovered by 1867, it would have been far more impressive, as predictive laws tend to be. (A number of simpler approximate principles are known for the US, such as that the taller and shorter-named of the major-party candidates will be elected president.)

Array of Low Energy X-ray (space) Imaging Sensors.

Absorption-Line Filter.

American Liver Foundation. ``[T]he only national, voluntary non-profit health agency dedicated to preventing, treating and curing hepatitis and all liver diseases through research, education and support groups.''

Related entries: AASLD, ADHF.

Australian Lung Foundation.

al frasco
Spanish: `[in]to the jar.'

al fresco
Italian: `in the open air.'

Australian Local Government Association.

Alloy semiconductor AlGaAs (i.e., Al1-xGaxAs).

A gas named in honor of Al, the homeboy of the Stammtisch Beau Fleuve. Hmmm. I hope that's in honor. Also refers to ``AlGaAs.'' Cf. Al Gore.

Catalunian name for Algeria. Also widely though incorrectly used in Spanish (i.e., Castilian) where the country name is Argelia.

Spanish name for a kind of heavy multicolored fabric used for curtains. It was originally manufactured in France, whence the name, meaning `Algerian.' Cf. Argelia.

Spanish, `something, anything.' Vide hidalgo.

ALGOL, Algol
Contraction of ``ALGOrithmic Language.'' First created in 1958 (``IAL''), by Peter Naur and others. ALGOL created fervent passions, but mostly in Europe, apparently. In a book review in 1963 (see The Computer Journal, vol. 6, #2, pp. 143, 168), J.K. Iliffe described ALGOL as a ``spectre ... which has haunted Europe since 1958.'' Michael Neumann's extensive list of sample short programs in different programming languages includes source code for three Algol programs and identifies Ada and Simula as similar languages.

The definitive description of the language was published as ``Revised report on the algorithmic language ALGOL 60,'' in Computer Journal, vol. 5, pp. 349-367 (1963). The report was edited by Peter Naur, dedicated to the memory of William Turanski, and written by thirteen coauthors. It's available online. Barron et al., in the article cited at the CPL entry, wrote that ``[t]he publication of this report [only months earlier] marked a turning point in the development in programming languages, since it concentrated attention on, and to a large extent solved, the problems of unambiguously defining a computational process or algorithm.''

ALGOL itself never seems to have been very popular in the US, but descendants of the language, particularly C and its object-oriented extensions, are dominant today. Here, in brief, is the line of descent from ALGOL 60 to C:

ALGOL --> CPL --> BCPL --> B --> C

ALGOL development did not cease with the creation of CPL, of course. ``ALGOL 66,'' said C.A.R. Hoare, ``was a great advance over its successors.'' (If you can give me details on or a source for this quote, please email me.) ALGOL 68 was considered disastrously complex, and it was the last major programming language to bear the ALGOL name. In reaction or revulsion, Niklaus Wirth created Pascal, which enjoyed a certain vogue but did not leave any major direct descendant.

(Regarding the sought quote: no, it's not in Hoare's article ``An Axiomatic Basis for Computer Programming'' that appeared in vol. 12, iss. 10 of CACM (October 1969; pp. 576-580, 583), but thanks for the thought. That paper is famous, though, and was republished in CACM's 25th anniversary edition (vol. 26, iss. 1; January 1983; pp. 53-6); in it, Hoare introduced a famous notation:

To state the required connection between a precondition (P), a program (Q) and a description of the result of its execution (R), we introduce a new notation:
This may be interpreted ``If the assertion P is true before initiation of a program Q, then the assertion R will be true on its completion.'' If there are no preconditions imposed, we write true {Q}R.

Not the ALGOL version that came with the LGP-30, but a simplified version, created by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtzof, for use by undergraduates at Dartmouth College. It wasn't their only effort along these lines. For others, see this DART entry.

Al Gore
Inventor of the ALGORithm, I believE.

Ancient Greek `pain.' The root alg- occurs in English analgesic, myalgia, neuralgia, and the names of any number of unpleasant medical conditions.

A precious wood mentioned in the Bible (according to OSPD4). Apparently there are still a few bits of scattered in the Scrabble forest. The plural form is algums; the metathetic forms almug and almugs are also accepted.

A meteor found in the ALlen Hills region of Antarctica. (Presumably the first such found in 1984.) Gases trapped in its interior match those found on the surface of Mars by Voyager missions in the 1970's. Studies of this meteor in 1996 fed exuberant speculation that life once existed on Mars.

Academic Libraries of Indiana.

American Law Institute. ``[E]stablished in 1923 `to promote the clarification and simplification of the law and its better adaptation to social needs, to secure the better administration of justice, and to encourage and carry on scholarly and scientific legal work'.''

Sure, and lose all the extra business from having obscure, perversely formulated and generally incomprehensible laws.

Membership is attorneys, legal scholars, and judges.

The ALI shares copyright for the UCC with the NCC. The ALI publishes Restatements of the Law, secondary legal sources that summarize common law as followed in various states of the US.

ATM Line Interface.

Archives Library Information Center. ``ALIC provides access to information on American history and government, archival administration, information management, and government documents to NARA staff, archives and records management professionals, and the general public.''

Adiabatic Low-energy Injection and (inertial plasma) Confinement Experiment.

A Link
Access Link. SS7 term for an interconnection between a signal transfer point (STP) and either a signal control point (SCP; a database) or a signal switching point (SSP).

Association for Library and Information Science Education.

Automatic Line Insulation Test.

alive day
A term common among military personnel who survive major injury. It's the day, or the anniversary of the day, that you were seriously injured (and quite possibly maimed for life) but didn't die.

Any-Layer Inner Via Hole. A Matsushita-trademarked stacked-type substrate technology for microelectronic interconnnects. In microelectronics, a via is a vertical conductor above the semiconductor (i.e., one perpendicular to the top surface of the semiconductor).

Archie-Like Indexing of the Web.

Administrative-Law Judge. A hearings officer who presides over appeals of bureaucratic decisions.

ALKalinity. This particular usage seems to be common in the soil and water-treatment fields. Chemists generally use pOH or more commonly pH.

A term whose precise semantic range has varied. Most loosely, it means a base, q.v.

There are even some chemists who use the word that loosely, but minimally careful use usually applies the term only to inorganic bases. The strictest usage, and not an uncommon one, applies the term only to the hydroxides of alkali metals. Slightly looser usage includes ammonia and hydroxides of alkaline earths.

The potassium entry (K) has some etymology of the term.

There is obviously much confusion on the distinction between base and alkali, and I've even seen alkali defined as a base in aqueous solution.

alkali metals
Metals in group IA of the Periodic table (Li, Na, K, Rb, Cs, Fr). (That's also called group 1 in the currently recommended international labeling of the table.) Alkali metals tend to diffuse strongly in silicon, causing a problem described at the sodium entry.

The alkali metals are the metals whose hydroxides are the alkalis in the strictest sense of that term. Alkali metals are extremely electronegative, so their compounds are generally basic.

It seems no one ever expects alkali metals to have any interesting biological activity. I can think of two instances:

  1. Lithium. John F. J. Cade discovered the psychotherapeutic utility of lithium accidentally. The way he stumbled on this was to notice, first, that the urine of psychiatric-ward patients with bipolar disorder was especially toxic to guinea pigs. Suspecting uric acid (an excess of which is indeed toxic, as gout sufferers are aware), he began doing experiments with the organic salt lithium urate. He only used the lithium salt because lithium urate is the most soluble urate. Instead, he found that the guinea pigs were sedated. He eventually traced this back to the lithium. There's more about this story in the Li entry.
  2. Sodium. The sense of ``salt'' determined by taste buds is now known to be a response to sodium ions. Early experiments, however, seemed to suggest that the sensation of saltiness was due to chlorine (Cl) ions. The strongest evidence came from the fact that sodium acetate tasted much less salty than sodium chloride. As it happens, however, the weaker salt taste of sodium acetate is due to its lower ionization coefficient: the same molarity of sodium acetate solute as sodium chloride solute leads to a lower concentration of sodium ions.

alkaline earths
In current usage, the alkaline earths are the metals in group IIA of the periodic table (Be, Mg, Ca, Sr, Ba, Ra). (That would be group 2 in the currently recommended international labeling of the table.)

Originally, the term alkaline earth applied not to metals but to their oxides, and then only to the oxides of three metals -- calcium (Ca), strontium (Sr), and barium (Ba). It referred to oxides whose properties were intermediate between those of the alkalis and the ordinary ``earths.'' The term was in use long before the periodic table and before the discovery of radium (Ra), and so reflected a practical empirical orientation. Subsequently, the term's usage expanded to include magnesium (Mg) and radium, and what the heck, let's let beryllium (Be) into the club, too. This evolution did not reflect a change in our understanding of the chemical properties of the group members so much as an evolution towards a more theorrrrretical orrrrientation based on the periodic table or the atomic structure.

The alkaline earth metals have the odd property of increasing solubility with decreasing temperature. Normally, one only expects gases to have increased solubility at low temperature.

For a modern example showing the similarity of the alkaline earths in the earlier restrictive definition, see the CMR entry.

The title of a Collective Soul song. It has the hook ``Foo can give you / Foo can do / Foo wish for when I'm with you,'' where Foo is ``All is all I.''

Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing. Founded in 1973 ``with the purpose of supporting the application of computing in the study of language and literature.'' They co-sponsor a major annual conference with ACH, in Europe in even years, in North America in even years. A couple of those are listed at the ACH entry.

all day
Life sentence. [Prison slang. For more prison slang, see A Prisoner's Dictionary.]

Cf. kalpa, Life+50.

all day
Many larger restaurants have a kitchen manager whose job is to coordinate the activities of the various cooks. In this situation, the kitchen manager may call out orders, or the entire set of orders, rather than have cooks read the tickets. The phrase ``all day'' is jargon often used to indicate the end of an order or the orders.

There is some disagreement regarding the origin of this usage of the phrase ``all day,'' but I don't think it's worth a lot of speculation. Restaurant personnel are not known for their linguistic skills. Set aside the ``Belgium waffles,'' ``with au jus,'' ``bake scrod,'' and other menu solecisms. Once I mentioned to S. (a restaurant hostess I know) an observation I had made regarding books. I had noticed that when I came into the restaurant with a book to read, the probability that a waitress would mention it or ask me about it was an increasing function of the book's size. S. suggested that this was because -- not to put too fine a point on it -- waitresses are not the kind of people who read big books. Okay, maybe this isn't such a stunning observation. By way of compensation, S. herself is a pretty stunning observation. Maybe I was hoping she'd say that women like men with a big one. (``Then I whip out my big ten inch... record of the band that plays the blues.'') For a waitress who wrote a book, see the Waiting entry.

All dressed up and no place to go
I mentioned to K. that she and S. were the two hostesses who had the hardest time with the boredom of the job, and she replied that she and S. were the only ones who dressed up -- the others didn't care if their clothes didn't match or anything. I don't think that's the entire story, but it's a relevant datum.

That conversation also reminded me that women seem to expect men to notice their shoes. Sure, I noticed that she was taller that day and teetered into me, but I didn't think of checking out the stilettos (which would be an all-around funnier word as an -es plural). Honey, you need to discuss this with a leg man. If my eyes are going to stop for refreshment, it's not going to happen that far south. For more on restaurant-employee attire, and darts rather than stilettoes, see the black bra entry.

This entry took on added significance (for me, if not for you) six months later. K. started working as a waitress at Hooters. She told me the tips are better there. I asked if that was because the food was a little more expensive or because they sold more alcohol. She deadpanned that it was because of ``the uniform.''

All E.R.
All England Law Reports.

Allen Bradley

Allen keys
Also ``Allen tools.'' Hexagonal cross-section rod stock, bent in the form of an ell. Not to be confused with homonym Alan Keyes.

All Hallows Day
Alternative name for All Saints' Day. See the entry for that, as it's developing into a better-than-average entry.

All letters will be answered.
Personalsese, `All letters will be answered eventually if we live that long.'

``All Of Me''
John Legend's song about snorkeling. The title refers to the fact that in snorkeling, the swimmer is completely submerged. The key lyric (the ``hook,'' get it?) is ``My head's under water / But I'm breathing fine.'' (John Legend himself claims he wrote it as a love song for his bride, supermodel Chrissy Teigen. He has to stick by that now, even though it doesn't explain the lyrics. What happened was that he sang it for her when it was new. Then as he was explaining ``It's a song about my love of sn--'' she screamed ``OH, IT'S ABOUT US! YOU'RE SO ROMANTIC!'' So he was stuck. At that point he had no choice but propose, or risk her eyes going permanently out of focus. You'd have done the same.)

Ironically, another recent snorkeling song (by Sara Bareilles; see the music for snorkeling entry) includes the lyric ``I'm not going to write you a love song.''

  1. In linguistics: one of two or more alternate pronunciations, like the yoo and oo pronunciations of ``ew'' in the word news (i.e., in /nju:z/ and /nu:z/). In other words, alternate phonetics (more technically alternate phones) of a single phoneme. More at the emic entry.
        The earliest quotation that the OED2 gives for allophone is of Whorf, dating from 1938. They quote from Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, ed. J.B. Carroll. Carroll commented that ``Whorf ... was apparently the first to propose the term `allophone,' now in common use among linguistic [`]scientists['].''
  2. In Canada: referring to persons who speak something other than English, French, or Québécois.
        In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Charles Baskerville dies and his baronetcy is inherited by his nephew Henry, who has been farming in Canada. The first time Sir Henry takes his leave of Sherlock Holmes, he says ``Au revoir and good morning.'' (Here at the Stammtisch Beau Fleuve Research Centro, we strive to provide you with the most timely, relevant, and obscure information, but we don't strive very hard.)

[Football icon]

all-purpose back
A player in American or Canadian football who can play both fullback and halfback positions. Abbreviated APB. See running back entry for some explanation.

all-purpose flour
Flour that you can use for both bread and cakes. Bread flour (also used for pizza) is made from high-gluten wheat, which can produce tough, chewy cakes. All-purpose flour is made with a mix of high- and low-gluten wheat.

[Football icon]

all-purpose yards
Yards rushing and receiving (in American and Canadian football). Abbreviated APY.

all-purpose ersatz erudition
  1. Viewed in a larger context, this picture is seen to be rather too simplistic.
  2. You have to define your terms.
  3. But by trying to probe more deeply, what we encounter is the underlying inadequacy of the definition.
  4. Is it really possible to say precisely? Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle tells us that to attempt too great a precision would be meaningless.
  5. I think one would have to be an expert in this precisely defined subject in order to say with any certainty.
  6. But ultimately: how do we really know?

What was it we were talking about?

All Saints' Day
The most interesting and challenging day of the year for barbers and hair stylists, when people come in expecting quick solutions to the problems they created by putting shoe polish, vaseline, wax, or spray paint in their hair for Halloween.

(Excuse me if this is already obvious to you, but everybody has to find out sometime, and for some, sometime is now: the word Halloween was originally a slurred form of Hallow E'en, short for All Hallows Evening, or Eve. All Hallows Day, as also All Souls Day, is an alternate name for All Saints Day. Yeah, the apostrophe is optional on the English name. All the religions that observe this holiday -- the major ones, anyway -- allow some poor spellers into heaven. But mind that you capitalize Holy Names and His Pronouns. You've been warned.)

Most customers dislike the really effective solution (shaving). I would recommend Goop®, that white detergent spread you use to clean roller-bearing packing grease off your hands after a brake job. An alternating sequence of amyl acetate and any rubbing alcohol might help, but I wouldn't use it on any hair that happened to be close to anyone's eyes.

All's well that ends well.
Dead men tell no tales.

All the marbles
What management usually holds and is missing a few of.

All the studies show that--
No, I haven't read alllll the studies, but generally speaking, the studies show that-- Well, no, actually, I haven't personally read any of the like, published details, but my Intro Sociology textbook says that--

all three major Scrabble dictionaries
Wherever this exact phrase occurs in this glossary, unless otherwise stated, it has the following meaning: the SOWPODS and TWL98 dictionaries, and the OSPD4. Wherever I write that a word is ``in all three major Scrabble dictionaries,'' it probably means that I checked my hard copy of OSPD4, which has definitions, and checked a web-based look-up tool mentioned at the SOWPODS and TWL entries (which gives no definitions) for the other two.

The radical CH3CHCH--.

Academia Latinoamericana Mayense. Intensive (immersion) Spanish and Mayan language school in Guatemala (.gt) since 1984. Students board with local families. No connection with the old ALM series of foreign-language textbooks.

AppWare-Loadable Module. (Capitalization following Novell NetWare convention.)


Latin, Artium Liberalium Magister. `Master of Liberal Arts.'

The preceptor for my dorm in freshman year was Jay. When we asked Jay what his major was, he said `preunemployment.' My room-mate freshman year was Dennis. Dennis was a `premed.' Jay said Dennis looked like um, um, tip-of-my-tongue, led the descamisados in Argentina, united Italy, um, you know!, uh, I'll get back to this later. Yeah, Garibaldi! Except that Jay didn't have to struggle to recall. As you probably surmised, Jay was technically a History major. Of course, Dennis was `technically' a Biology major, because Rutgers didn't recognize `premed' as a formal major. They didn't recognize `preunemployment' either. I think the idea was not to stigmatize failure by making a formal admission that you were trying to get into some professional school. Instead you were supposed to pretend that you were in school because you had a sincere love of knowledge, and weren't really making any particular plans for after graduation. Jay went to law school, although only after falling in with the Moonies the summer after his senior year, and being rescued by Art, who claimed to be `predent' but went to med school instead. I don't know what story he gave the Moonie sentries.

Asset-and-Liability Management.

Asynchronous Line Multiplexer. A device that connects terminals or other serial-interface devices to network file servers or workstations that preferentially use parallel communication. Also known as ``Multiple Terminal Interface (MTI).''

Audio-Lingual Materials. A series of foreign-language textbooks (Spanish, French, and German for English-speakers, at least) and supporting materials marketed by Harcourt Brace in the 1960's and 70's.

Al-Masaq. Published by the Society for the Study of the Medieval Mediterranean and ``covers all aspects of the Islamic Mediterranean culture from the second to the ninth AH / eighth to the fifteenth centuries AD. It is concerned with fostering interdisciplinary and cross-cultural investigation of the Mediterranean region, creating a forum for ideas and encouraging debate on the influence of Islamic culture in the Mediterranean.''

almond powder
Almond soaps are specialty soaps typically recommended for washing the face. These almond soaps are made with almonds -- the nuts -- and almond oil. In the process of making such soaps, one grinds up almonds into a powder. This is powder contains a lot of oil, like most nuts, and that oil is converted into oil in the usual way by the saponification process. This is does not depend for its effectiveness on the detergent properties of unsaponified almond, and I wonder just how effective it may be. It is not the same almond powder that was traditionally used to clean the face. My grandmother used Mandel Kleie (German for `almond bran' or `almond aril'). It has its own mild detergent effect, and it also seems to soften the water. The whole point of using it was that by relying on a natural detergent rather than soap, one avoided the harsh alkalinity of the unreacted or unneutralized lye used in soap manufacture. A consistent modern application is in the use of almond paste (also sandalwood and chick-pea creams) to clean facial pimples.

For another alternative natural detergent, see this QS entry.

They say that ``almost'' only counts in horseshoes and suicide bombings. Something like that. (Used to be hand grenades -- common theme of things tossed.) Hmm, maybe I'm thinking of ``close.'' Whatever. But what they don't tell you is that almost is a versatile word that can turn any unfulfilled fantasy into a flattering claim that isn't overly easy to demonstrate is false. For example, the guy behind the counter attends a local community college but almost got into Harvard. It's almost a true, anyway. [I'm not going to tell you which counter because of a combination of factors. Namely: (a) I value my health, and (b) he also was just an inch too short for the (non-Ivy) football team, and that one is almost believable.]

According to a potato chip I read recently (honest -- see the bongo entry for details), almost is the longest English word whose letters are in alphabetical order. In fact, that's not even almost true. A very practical and useful ``Collection of Word Oddities and Trivia'' reports that ``AEGILOPS (alternate spelling of egilops, an ulcer in a part of the eye) is apparently the longest word'' in Webster's New International Dictionary, 2/e, that consists of letters in alphabetical order. There you go.

Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers.

almucantar, almucantar, almucantara
A small circle parallel to the horizon. Yes, the horizon is a circle. Look around. It's a great one, if you know what I mean.

A precious wood mentioned in the Bible (according to OSPD4). Apparently there are still a few bits of it scattered in the Scrabble forest. The plural form is almugs; the metathetic forms algum and algums are also accepted.

Almucantar -- a small circle parallel to the horizon.

Asynchronous Learning Network[s]. You've heard of ``learning at your own pace''? Maybe this is it. Hmmm. Maybe not. See JALN.

A class of iron alloys with aluminum (Al), nickel (Ni), cobalt (Co), copper (Cu) and sometimes titanium (Ti), developed for military electric motor applications in WWII, still popular for PMDC motors. They have the poorest resistance to demagnetization of any commonly used PMDC field magnets.

The original alnico alloys -- Alnico I through Alnico V -- contained, as the name implies, only Al, Ni, and Co in addition to Fe.

Accreditation Liaison Officer.

ALabama Optometric Association. Does this look like a grass skirt?

Acute Loss Of Consciousness. (Acute in medical usage means of sudden onset.)

As we metallic types like to say, ``Bang yer head!''

Very simple network protocol in which user blithely transmits whenever it has data. Sort of like a drunk at a party, except that it waits until it has something to say before uninhibitedly speaking. Also, it listens to determine if a collision occurred (determination by failure to pick up its own message from the central repeater, in networks that have one, or by failure to receive an ACK). In case of collision, retransmission attempt follows after random wait.

In a variation called slotted Aloha, transmitters are synchronized to begin transmitting at fixed times. This reduces collision rate by making collisions doozies, and in complementary fashion transforming many would-be fender-benders into near misses, i.e. safe noncollisions.


Hair loss up to and including, but never exceeding complete baldness.

ALarion Press. Based in Boulder, Colorado. ``The history of ancient civilizations through colorful art and inventive architecture.''

In late May 2002, the Les Belles Lettres (yes! an excuse for a double definite article! oh, and a great tragedy) book warehouses burned down in Paris, and fires began in Colorado. Coincidence or conspiracy? What did Nostradamus say about this? And NIFC?

Aluminum Phosphide. (Let me add, Aluminium Phosphide for any of our Limey friends who had difficulty figuring that out.) An indirect-gap III-V semiconductor (2.45 eV), lattice constant of 5.467 Å. Both numbers close to those of GaP, so you might make a heterointerface, but why would you bother?

A mountain in Switzerland or thereabouts. How come I never see this singular form?

Australian Labor Party. Thus: not ``Labour.''

Air Line Pilots Association. A union that also styles itself ``Air Line Pilots Association International.'' The extra word makes reference to the fact that it represents pilots across a multinational group of countries comprised of the US and Canada. As of Y2K, it represented 55,000 airline pilots at 51 airlines. Founded in 1931; it is chartered by the AFL-CIO. See also BALPA.

Short for alpha particle (q.v.).

Alpha chip
The very good 64-bit RISC processor and associated chip set designed by DEC as a successor to their enormously successful Vax series of machines. A VMS-like operating system (OS) was available to ease the transition back when it came out in the early 1990's, but it seems to have been a pain for the systems programmers. I think the Unix-type OS was Alpha/OSF, but I'm not sure. In 1998 the Alpha series of chips was sold along with most of the rest of DEC to Compaq, which was absorbed by HP later that year.

alpha particle